ARL Boss Admits: ‘Inglis Should be a Blue’
The Australian Rugby League may close the loop hole that allowed New South Wales born Greg Inglis to represent Queensland in state of origin.
As the rules stand, a player ticks a box indicating which state they are making themselves available for when they sign their first professional contract. However this has led to a massive grey area, which has led to one of the great origin controversies.
Greg Inglis was born and raised in the NSW town of Kempsey, however because he signed his first contract for Brisbane North’s, he has always been considered a maroon in the eyes of origin selectors, much the chagrin of Blues selectors and supporters, who have watched Inglis cut a swathe through Blues’ line ups for the last five years.
It is believed that the ARL considers the question ambiguous because players, especially young players, are unsure whether to align themselves with who the rule eligibility rules state they should, or who they would prefer to play for.
The Inglis situation has been muddied even further with NSW officials saying he should have been eligible for NSW because he played for Newcastle’s Hunter Sports High as a 16 year old. While there has not been a provision for school football determining origin eligibility in the past, it is believed that the ARL are seriously considering it as an option.
North Queensland’s Tariq Sims is another who is believed to have made the origin eligibility decision on who he would prefer to play for.
Sims played under 17’s for New South Wales in 2007, however it is understood that Sims selected Queensland before signing with Broncos. To make matters more confusing, Sims was born in Cronulla and his brother has played test football for Fiji.
Sims manager Col Davis said the origin clause was open to misunderstanding.
“It’s a bit ambiguous. In a nutshell, it gives a player an opportunity to choose which state they want to play for,” Davis said.
“I don’t see why the player has a choice and that’s what can create some confusion in the players mind.”
Geoff Carr said the ARL would look at dropping the origin eligibility clause from contracts.
“In hindsight it is an unnecessary thing to put in there, but it was put in the contract because players do have a view and often there are some grey areas,” Carr said.
“It doesn’t matter if a player elects to play for a state, he still has to be eligible for that state. It’s probably something we can revisit. It’s a bit irrelevant asking the player because you can’t elect to pick a state.
“You can’t just play for whoever you like. That line probably shouldn’t be in the NRL player contract but it is – it’s not what determines origin eligibility.”
And in news that will make New South Wales supporters fill a little ill, Carr also said that Inglis should be representing the Blues.
“He is eligible for New South Wales and should be playing for New South Wales, but it’s not his fault based on the evidence the ARL had at the time,” he said.
“He was a rare one where his election got through, but we’re making sure that doesn’t happen again.”