Sport

Should international league eligibility rules be changed?

FLIP FLOP: Proposed changes to the international rugby league eligibility rules could see NRL stars like Anthony Milford play for tier-two nations like Samoa without jeopardising their chances to play State of Origin or for Australia or New Zealand.
FLIP FLOP: Proposed changes to the international rugby league eligibility rules could see NRL stars like Anthony Milford play for tier-two nations like Samoa without jeopardising their chances to play State of Origin or for Australia or New Zealand. AAP/Dave Hunt

JARRARD POTTER: Let's see some pride put back into the national jersey

FOR years, rugby league fans have been perplexed, annoyed and downright angered by the merry-go-round that is representative selection.

How can a footballer wear the national strip of Fiji, Samoa, Italy or the USA for one tournament, only to be seen in the green and gold of Australia or the black of New Zealand for the next?

It's almost to be expected in modern rugby league that there's no loyalty between teams, but with national representation, it should be the purest, highest form of the game.

The way it stands now, it's nothing but a joke, and with the Rugby League International Federation set to loosen eligibility criteria for tier-two nations, such at Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, the greater grey area makes the situation beyond funny.

How can countries expect to build pride in their national team when NRL mercenaries, who aren't good enough to make the team of their country of birth, farm out their services to countries they qualify eligibility for through relatives?

If rugby league is going to become a genuine international sport, there needs to be more than two dominant teams, and developing rugby league countries won't grow if they become nothing more than training paddocks for NRL stars who want to play for island nations as a stepping stone to playing for Australia or New Zealand.

BILL NORTH: Leaving door ajar makes sense in this professional landscape

THE decision to relax eligibility rules for tier two nations is a win for the health of rugby league.

It's only fair that these countries, hamstrung by miniscule resources, can still access players ultimately striving for the bright lights - and match payments - of State of Origin or a 'Big Three' guernsey.

While it does swing the door open to some players with tenuous links, at worst it helps close the gap at major tournaments and give these teams more crowd-pulling power with drawcard names.

As it is, the RLIF is tightening its grip by extending the residency qualifying period from three years (currently used by FIFA and IOC) to five years - in the wake of the Semi Radradra selection furore - to prevent the Big Three from stockpiling talent and further dominating the rugby league landscape.

These eligibility changes will only serve to benefit smaller nations and ensure a greater proportion of the best players will be in action at major tournaments, while guaranteeing Australia can keep pumping out its strongest homegrown team.

The fact this move has received unanimous support from the game's 18 full member nations is proof this idea makes sense. It won't jeopardise Origin or the 'Big Three', and simply goes towards helping promote the sport on a global scale.

Topics:  behind the desk, international, rugby league, world cup



Fraser calls for greyhound ban reversal in leaked email

BAN REVERSAL: Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser has called for the NSW Government to reverse its decision to ban greyhound racing.

Coffs Harbour MP calls for State Government to reverse ban

Drone footage highlights beauty of Yamba

A snapshot of ex-Clarence Valley resident John Hale's drone video of Turners Beach in Yamba.

See the Clarence from a new perspective

Why we're the top spot for mobile tourists

Caravanners and campers spend an average $152 a night in our region.

Our region is the top spot for caravanners and campers in the state.

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

Clarence Valley property prices go through the roof

Buyers are hungry to sink their teeth into the Clarence Valley

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

NEW HOME: Agents to the rescue for family of nine

RELIEF: Tanya Cone (middle) with her kids and McKimm's Real Estate property managers Regan Firth and Nadine Greenhalgh who helped find her family a home.

DEX article prompts property managers to help family find new home

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction