The Courier-Mail

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.

 ??  ?? Jason Taumalolo playing for Tonga but still out of Origin.
Jason Taumalolo playing for Tonga but still out of Origin.
 ??  ?? Maroons coach Paul Green.
Maroons coach Paul Green.

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