Potential Eligibility Dilemma: Kiwis and Poms in State of Origin?

Discussions surrounding rep footy eligibility have been almost as popular as the actual games being played, and ranks right up there with topics such as stadium infrastructure, the judiciary, and the number of clubs in Sydney. There have been discussions of the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) considering altering the current rules to disregard international allegiances. This would open the pathway for players who have represented other Tier 1 countries – mainly England and New Zealand – to feature in Origin if also eligible at state level. This is a rare outbreak of common sense as far as eligibility goes, as it closes down two of the most regular yet least informed arguments on the subject. This opens the door to those who have chosen New Zealand or England at international level, making it more likely that dual eligible players will be able to have their rep cake and eat it. This system would realign the priorities of the ARLC back in favor of the international game. The demographic change that has taken place over the past two decades has been astounding. As of this year’s Origin, 19 of the 51 who participated in the series could or have played for a Pacific nation, a full 37% of all players. The new rules would suit all parties, giving players who are eligible for Origin and want to play it the chance to do so without jeopardizing their ability to represent their heritage and play internationally. Both states gain access to more players without taking players away from smaller talent pools. For fans, it makes rugby league’s all star game even more glittering.