All change: Jarryd Hayne could turn out for Fiji again at the World Cup, as he did in 2008, if he is overlooked by the Kangaroos. Photo: Greg TotmanDon’t be surprised to see a host of players switch allegiances away from Australia after the State of Origin series – and then switch right back in time for next year’s interstate encounters.
Discord hears the Tonga-Samoa game struck quite a chord with many players of island heritage last month. They all know the rules – they can apply to change their country of election once in a World Cup cycle.
Most – Feleti Mateo aside – haven’t done that, as defined under the rules, since 2008.
From the incumbent NSW side, Jarryd Hayne (Fiji), Michael Jennings (Tonga) and maybe Tony Williams (Tonga) could all be playing against the green and golds in Europe.
From the incumbent Queensland side, Ben Teo could change back to Samoa – although the exact date of his most recent switch would need to be checked. Petero Civoniceva will also be captaining Fiji.
Had Lebanon not missed out on the World Cup on a count-back in the qualifiers, the Cedars could have called on Tim Mannah and Robbie Farah.
Now, you might ask: If they played for someone else in the last World Cup, and have played for Australia since, how can they switch again?
Good question. I had to make a calls to Tas Baitieri at the NSWRL and NRL development manager Andrew Hill to check on this. Firstly, after each World Cup, there is a clean slate. You don’t have to change your country of election. There is also a mandatory stand-down period of two years that works in conjunction with being permitted to change your country of election once in every World Cup cycle.
So, effectively, if you swapped countries more than two years ago, you can switch back. This could have an interesting impact on Akuila Uate. His first Test for Australia was in October, 2011.
He played for Fiji in 2009 and then switched to Australia. Effectively, he is not allowed to represent Fiji for two years after first appearing for Australia. It’s possible he could get a clearance to play for the Bati at the World Cup by a matter of days, if he missed out on Tim Sheens’ squad.
Mateo, however, changed his country of election in the past year or so he can’t play for Tonga.
Below the level of Origin players, there is a plethora of players ready to change their country of election. Most teams will be full of Super League and NRL stars.
In league with union
Congratulations to the Western Cape Rugby League in South Africa, which has gained formal recognition from its local sports council.
The South African government does not recognise rugby league as a separate sport to rugby union.
Given this rather major handicap, many people expect the country’s bid to host the 2017 World Cup to prove futile.
But if the public has the same attitude as the government, and can’t tell the rugby codes apart, Discord reckons it would be a raging success!
Meanwhile, read all about the launch of our great game in Dubai here. And journalist Robert Burgin is launching rugby league in Brazil. Find him on Facebook if you are interested in helping.
A few issues you might have expected to read about in Discord this week:
1) ASADA. I had a look at League HQ, and there was plenty of reading on that topic for you already;
2) David Morrow. What can you say? He made a mistake but David is not at all a hateful person in my experience;
3) Andrew Johns. Not a football story and how can any meaningful comment be made without knowing what actually happened?
I’m happily surprised at the response the Monday Set Of Six column has been getting.
AJT said Greek Easter might have affected Sunday’s crowd at Allianz Stadium. I must admit, when Maria Tsialis from Big League said to me on Monday that it was Easter at the weekend, I was so confused I pretended I didn’t hear it …
Teviot Bob raised the possibility of an 18th man to replace concussion victims. I think that has been discussed. But what if you have two concussion victims? Or three? I think you’re right about Joe Picker – he wouldn’t have returned if Glen Buttriss has been able to continue.
Andrew B agreed that NRL needs to have a go at attracting neutral fans. A Sydney membership and a loyalty system (swipe your card and you get points, which you can use to claim rewards) would assist in this. He lives within walking distance of Allianz Stadium but watched on TV on Sunday.
Great, colourful discussion from everyone. Thanks.
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