BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Anthony Milford of the Broncos passes the ball during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Eligibility overhaul lets players switch nations and still play Origin

International league is headed for one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the sport.


A radical eligibility proposal – which will change the equation for the nations outside the big three of Australia, New Zealand and England – has been approved by the Rugby League International Federation.

The Herald on Sunday can reveal:

  • Eligible players can nominate one tier one nation to represent and one tier two nation
  • Players can switch between their two countries multiple times within a World Cup cycle
  • There is no stand-down between a change of allegiance
  • Players of Polynesian heritage can play State of Origin but still be available to turn out for their native island country

Other Sports News

As well as the forecast changes, the RLIF also recently extended its residency qualifying period from three to five years following the furore surrounding Semi Radradra’s recent selection for Australia.

More From Our Network

You Might Also Like


  1. I like it. It is absolutely a right for some of these players to consider themselves a part of multiple countries. So let them chose (without long-term consequence to the other country). It should just be capped to parents (and grand-parents at a stretch). And 5 years instead of 3 years for residency is much better…

  2. Don’t like it. Its called State of Origin for a reason. The islanders can make their own competition up.
    If they were born here that’s fine, but not if they were born outside Australia.

  3. State of origin is the biggest game of all and it is never used for Australian selection like it supposed to be, so why not allow both states to have one import for the backs and one for the forwards and make this game even bigger game

  4. What if a player’s 2 teams are playing each other and he is chosen by both? Does he decide?

    Players of Polynesian decent already play Origin, but (hypothetically) some could play for QLD and Tonga or NSW and Fiji , but others cannot play SOO and NZ?

  5. This is good for footy, it’s going to boost international football big time.
    It should be called the “Milford rule”
    State of origin eligibility still remains the same but think there’s around 40+ players in the origin series putting their hand up for a 20 man Australian squad. If out of the other 20, 10 are available for small nation teams like Fiji, Samoa, cook is, png and tonga through the parent rule players won’t have to make a decision on who the rep until later on thus making stronger small nation teams and better international footy.

  6. It should be where you are born.
    If you are born in Toowoomba but move to NSW when you leave hospital, you play for QLD.
    It really is very simple and there doesn’t need to be any grey area with eligibility.
    The game needs to be stripped back bare in many areas, this is one of them.

    Anyone for another KFC ad each time the ref decides that we need one..?

  7. I think this is a good call…but personally would prefer for the Tier 2 nations to have first pick and those they don’t pick (and are eligible for both) can play for the big 3.
    I know it wont happen but wouldn’t it make for a stronger international game?
    The days of Aus, NZ and GB picking the eyes out of the lesser nations would be gone and there would be a genuine international competition.

Comments are closed.