Meninga calls for league eligibility laws to be relaxed
30 April 2015
Papua New Guinea rugby league coach Mal Meninga has called for eligibility rules to be relaxed, to help grow the international game.
Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and PNG are all in action this weekend on the Gold Coast as part of a standalone weekend of representative rugby league.
But a number of Pacific stars, including Fiji’s Akuila Uate, Kane Evans and Tariq Sims, Tonga’s Feleti Mateo and Anthony Milford from Samoa will not be playing for the country of their heritage in order to maintain eligibility for State of Origin and other international teams.
Mal Meninga, who is also the Queensland Maroons head coach, believes the current system is flawed.
“So I think they should be able to play for their country if they don’t get picked for Australia – or New South Wales or Queensland, or New Zealand or England – so those Pacific Islanders who don’t get selected in their home countries teams should be eligible if their ancestry belies that. If they’re Tongan or Samoan or whatever, they should be able to play for their country. It’s all about improving the game of rugby league in the Pacific. That’s the International Rugby League Federation regulations so for whatever reason it’s not being addressed at the moment”.
Mal Meninga expects his Kumuls team to be competitive against Fiji on Saturday but admits his squad, selected largely from the Queensland Cup, will find it tough against a team full of NRL regulars.