NRL shuts door on Origin bid
THE NRL has killed Jason Taumalolo’s bid to play for Queensland after CEO Andrew Abdo declared State of Origin’s eligibility rules would not be changed in 2021.
New Maroons coach Paul Green was hoping to have Taumalolo available for Queensland this year.
But that will not be the case, with the NRL ruling out changes to Origin’s hotly debated eligibility laws.
Born in New Zealand, Taumalolo has played Test football for his native country and Tonga but doesn’t meet the current eligibility requirements for State of Origin.
Having lived in Queensland since he was 13, Taumalolo was hoping changes would be made to the laws which would let him play for the Maroons.
But Abdo said that would not be happening and North Queensland’s Dally M Medal champion would not be pulling on a Maroons jersey in 2021.
“There is certainly no proposal to change the eligibility in the short-term or long-term for that matter,” he said at a Magic Round event in Brisbane.
“Everything will be considered over time, but at this stage no. I won’t talk about specific players around Origin eligibility but I would like to clarify something. The commission is not looking at changing the eligibility for Origin.
“What we are looking at is standardising and harmonising the calendar so that players who do qualify to play for NSW or Queensland don’t have to choose between that and representing their country in mid-season Tests.
“This is not about changing the definition of who qualifies for Origin. This is about making sure those who do qualify and want to play Origin don’t have to choose.
“If we can have a dedicated international window at the back end of the season, that’s good for everyone.”
The focus on creating a dedicated international window will help players like Brisbane’s Kotoni Staggs play for NSW and Tonga.
Unlike Taumalolo, Staggs meets the eligibility requirements to play for his state and country of heritage.