AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 20: Andrew Fifita of Tonga leads the Sipi Tau during the International Test match between Tonga and Australia at Mount Smart Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

In the wake of the 2022 Rugby League World Cup this October, many State of Origin players have opted to represent other nations over Australia, a situation that has drawn concern from Kanagroos' legend Cameron Smith.

Under the International Rugby League's eligibility rules, players may pick freely between Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations.

The only provision in those rules is that teams will not switch after already playing for a country within a single calendar year, or within the course of the same tournament, including qualifying matches.

Smith said it's creating a 'messy' situation however.

“I believe that these players that have the opportunity to represent Australia and another nation, I think it’s great that they’re choosing to play for a country of their family’s heritage,” Smith said on SEN's The Captain's Run.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: The Australian Kangaroos celebrate victory as captain Cameron Smith holds up the world cup trophy after 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 Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“I think that’s great for our international game, where it’s getting a bit messy, how players can play State of Origin they can represent New South Wales and Queensland which are states of Australia.

“But then after that series is finished, then go on and say well no I don’t want to represent Australia at the international level I want to go play for a different country, I think that’s where it needs to be cleaned up."

Origin players Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton, Josh Papali'i, Junior Paulo and Francis Molo have all chosen to represent Samoa this October having previously applied their trade for Queensland and New South Wales.

A similar situation can be seen in the Tongan squad as Felise Kaufusi, David Fifita, Kotoni Staggs and Daniel Tupou have all participated in the Origin arena.

As tier two nations Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and Papua New Guinean players are all able to represent State allegiances in Australia while being given the option of still representing their nation of heritage at the international level.

“What I’m saying is if you choose to play state of Origin, I feel you should be available to play for the Kangaroos,” Smith contended.

“If I was a player playing for New Zealand or England and I seen people that represent Samoa or Tonga, I’d look at that and think they’re allowed to play Origin and I’m not, that’s not fair, it’s one or the other.

“If we continue down this route of you can continue to play Origin and another nation outside of Australia, then open the floodgates let Jason Taumalolo play State of Origin, let Victory Radley play."



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