State of Origin, Kangaroos, World Cup, Cameron Smith, Samoa, eligibility debate, who can play Origin

State of Origin, Kangaroos, World Cup, Cameron Smith, Samoa, eligibility debate, who can play Origin

NRL great Cameron Smith believes that there might not be a single Kangaroos representative playing Origin in 10 years’ time, as he weighed in on the fierce debate surrounding international eligibility.

Roosters lock Victor Radley reignited the debate when he defected his allegiance to England after being involved in the Blues squad for Game Two of this year’s series.

New South Wales winger Brian To’o has also chosen to represent Samoa at the World Cup later this year, while Paul Kent has also suggested that Jarome Luai will don Toa Samoa’s colors as well.

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Smith, who played 56 Tests for Australia and won two World Cup titles, was adamant in his belief that only players eligible for the Kangaroos should be selected to play State of Origin.

Speaking on SEN’s The Captain’s Run on Thursday morning, the Maroons assistant coach said that the eligibility rules are “really difficult” to get right.

“I just think it’ll get really messy if we open the floodgates and say ‘do your best’,” Smith said on the show.

“In reality we may get to a point in time, let’s just say 10-15 years down the track where there won’t be a single person playing in Origin that’ll be playing for the Kangaroos. That’s an absolute reality in the next 10 years.

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“Let’s even say half of the footballers in State of Origin, they’ll be representing other countries. It’ll be a really, really strange situation that we find ourselves in.

“The next decision that we make, or the next talks we have around this eligibility thing, it’s going to have to be really well planned out.”

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The Kangaroos haven’t taken the field since November 2019, when they lost to Tonga 16-12 for the first time ever in front of a sea of ​​red in Auckland.

Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr lined up in the no. 2 jersey for the Australian side during that match, and is believed to still be in the mix for the World Cup despite being overlooked for Origin.

Smith used his former Melbourne Storm teammate as an example of how the eligibility chaos can see someone play international football, even if they aren’t good enough for Origin.

“Brian To’o, he played for New South Wales in all three State of Origin matches, and that’s fine, he’s the form winger for New South Wales and should’ve been there,” he added.

But he won’t be representing Australia at the end of the year. I tell you a big chance of who will be there and that’s Josh Addo-Carr.

Cameron Smith gives the crowd a thumbs up after winning the World Cup in 2017. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource: AAP

“We’ll have a situation where in the World Cup, let’s say Josh gets picked and I really feel as though that’s a real possibility, Josh Addo-Carr will be representing Australia in a World Cup but wasn’t good enough to play for New South Wales.

“We’re going to be finding ourselves in situations where there’s people or players representing our country that can’t even get a start in our State of Origin (teams). I think this is where we need to make a decision around eligibility rules.”

The former Kangaroos captain believes that players should have to nominate their country of choice so that the Australian national team does not suffer from having fewer players competing in the Origin arena.

Smith’s solution is that players should have to decide whether or not they want to play for Australia, which would then make them eligible for Origin, or another nation.

“If you want to play State of Origin, if you want to represent Queensland or New South Wales which is a state of Australia, then I think you need to be available to play for the Kangaroos. I really do.

“If you’re not selected for the Kangaroos, you can play for your second nominated country. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want to play for the country of your families heritage…I completely understand that.

But if you want to put your hand up and say look ‘I want to play State of Origin football’, well you’re representing a state of Australia.

“If you’re willing and you’re happy to play State of Origin and take on everything that State of Origin gives you, not to mention a large sum of money per match to play State of Origin, then you should be available to play. for Australia, at least to be selected for them.”

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