BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: England coach Wayne Bennett talks to the media during a press conference following the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final between the Australian Kangaroos and England at Suncorp Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Wayne Bennett may be a Queensland legend, but it hasn't stopped the veteran coach making a number of bold declarations, including the belief that Victor Radley should still be allowed to represent New South Wales.

International eligibility is becoming an increasingly hot topic as the game returns to the world scale, and forcing some players into representative decisions that have career-long repercussions.

Victor Radley is a prime example, his recent decision to represent his father's heritage and don an England jersey means the fiery lock will never represent Australia or New South Wales due to the Three Lions being a Tier One nation.

England v Samoa: Rugby League World Cup
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: England player Victor Radley in action during Rugby League World Cup 2021 Pool A match between England and Samoa at St. James Park on October 15, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Dylan Walker had an appeal to represent New Zealand at the World Cup denied due to the Warriors' recruit having represented the Kangaroos in a Four Nations series back in 2014, despite playing for the Maori All Stars the past three seasons.

Now, the sudden rise of Samoa and Tonga have chins wagging over the possibility of the pacific nations being promoted to Tier One status, meaning the likes of Brian To'o, Junior Paulo, Josh Papalii, Daniel Tupou and more would be denied Origin jerseys in the future.

While there are voices on both sides of the fence, Bennett has been firm in his stance on international eligibility.

“Let's stop the bulls***,” Bennett declared to The Daily Telegraph.

“It's not that complicated. Everyone needs to think about what is in the game's best interests here.

“We have to acknowledge where international football is heading. We had more than 600,000 people who got up in the middle of the night to watch that game.

“That shows there is a market for it, and we are in the entertainment business.”

Samoa v France: Rugby League World Cup
WARRINGTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Brian To'o of Samoa goes over to score their sides seventh try during Rugby League World Cup 2021 Pool A match between Samoa and France at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Warrington, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Record breaking TV ratings confirmed the smash success of rugby league's return to the international level after a COVID-enforced hiatus, and while Bennett believes Origin eligibility rules are fine as is, it's the next step up that requires tweaking.

“What I'm saying is the criteria to play for Queensland and NSW must not change,” Bennett added.

“But what should change is that players should be available for selection for a whole lot of countries outside Australia.

Victor Radley should be allowed to play for NSW and also play for England. But he will never play for Australia.

“He made that choice. But he still ticks all the boxes to play Origin because he grew up playing his football in NSW."

Tonga v Samoa - Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final
WARRINGTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Joseph Suaali'i of Samoa breaks with the ball during the Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between Tonga and Samoa at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Warrington, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

It appears for Bennett it comes down to more than just heritage, but where you've been raised as well.

“What a lot of people seem to be struggling to understand is that these players like Junior Paulo and Jarome Luai and Brian To'o, they've all grown up in Sydney.

“So under the criteria as it is now they qualify for Origin.

“Then you have a bloke like Tom Burgess, who doesn't tick the boxes, because Tom grew up in England. So he shouldn't be playing Origin.

Herbie Farnworth is another who doesn't tick the boxes. So the criteria stays the same in that respect.

“But we have to acknowledge where international football is heading.”

It's still unclear whether Samoa are being considered for a Tier One promotion after becoming just the sixth nation to feature in a World Cup final, however if the rules were to continue as is, the promotion would prove more detrimental than successful for the rising nation.