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Why Ronaldo Mulitalo being barred from Origin was the right call

Ronaldo Mulitalo was to be the happiest man in the world after Reece Walsh’s injury opened the door for him to make his Queensland debut in Origin 2.

However, in dramatic scenes, an article resurfaced the day before the match indicating that the rising star had left New Zealand for Australia ten months. after he turned 13, making him ineligible to achieve his dream.

Heartbreaking? Undoubtedly. The right decision? Unfortunately yes.

You must reside in that particular state before your 13th birthday to don the home state jersey. As Mulitalo even confirmed during an appearance on the Bloke in a Bar podcast in January, he narrowly missed the cut – even though he had visited Australia before his 13th birthday for the holidays.

The rules are clear: you must reside in this state. Just going on vacation and visiting the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t make you a Queenslander. I visited the Eiffel Tower once, should that allow me to play for France?

It’s a shame to get there, as the main reason he left New Zealand in the first place would have been to play for the Broncos and Queensland, the teams he had supported since he was a child. I agree that his dream being taken from him a few hours before the start of the game was totally false; however, for the sake of the integrity of the series, the right decision was made.

The excuse that Mulitalo played under-16s, 18s and even under-20s for Queensland doesn’t suit me. the QRL should never have let him go this far in the first place without doing due diligence on his eligibility, and that doesn’t allow you to break the rules again.

Ronaldo Mulitalo scores a try. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images)

The other major excuse – that other players, notably James Tamou, moved to Australia after his 13th birthday – also falls flat. Yes, under the current rules, Tamou could never have represented NSW, having been born in New Zealand. However, he had already made his debut as a representative before the new rules were applied by the Australian Rugby League Commission in December 2012.

Even Mulitalo’s status as a true Queenslander is unclear. Yes, after moving to Australia he spent four years in the state – but he has now spent the same time on the list for the Cronulla Sharks, a club based in New South Wales. If a player who has spent most of his life – the better part of 14 years in the case of Mulitalo – and spent about the same time in the sunny state as he spent in New South Wales, being eligible for Queensland? I do not think so.

The eligibility rules are in place for a reason. First, Australian rugby does not have a habit of constantly stealing elite talent from New Zealand or England: what if Sam Burgess had decided not to play for England and play for the NSW instead? Where would the money end? And second, prevent states from attracting players from elsewhere with the money and prestige that the home state brings.

Unless you’ve lived and grown up in New South Wales or Queensland, it’s hard to have the same passion for the show, one of the main reasons Origin has been so successful for so long. .

It was a brutal call, but the NRL was right not to allow Mulitalo to play for Queensland on Sunday night. The poor guy should never have played with his emotions like that, or been forced to deal with the fallout of failures which were almost not entirely his fault. But in my opinion the biggest shame is that the place of an eligible player from Queensland has been taken for years as Mulitalo played in the junior representative teams.



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