NRL Rd 12 - Wests Tigers v Cowboys
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 20: Jahream Bula of the Tigers runs with the ball during the round 12 NRL match between Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval on May 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Wests Tigers breakout star Jahream Bula has revealed he wants to play State of Origin - but not for the state he is eligible for.

The young gun, who broke onto the scene earlier this year by taking the number one jersey of Daine Laurie at the Wests Tigers, has been one of the club's best in his rookie campaign.

Playing 14 games, he has crossed for five tries and set up another four, while averaging 166 metres per game. The 21-year-old, who was born in Auckland, is contracted to the Tigers until at least the end of 2025 and will continue to cement his position as the club's fullback with Laurie to depart at the end of this season.

Born in Auckland, Bula is eligible to play for Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia, while he could also represent Queensland - provided he doesn't pick the Kiwis in international rugby league given they are a Tier 1 nation.

Bula left New Zealand at the age of 13 when he and his family relocated to Queensland.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald though, he said Origin is firmly on his radar - just not for the Maroons.

“I'm eligible for Queensland, but I don't know – I'd like to play for NSW,” he told the publication.

Coach Tim Sheens has been glowing in his praise for the young gun dating as far back as pre-season, and it's hardly a surprise given the talent he always possessed coming through the junior ranks.

He is now set at the Tigers, though, and said that playing for Fiji or Samoa (his parents were born in the nations respectively), as well as New South Wales, is the dream.

"I want to play for Fiji and Samoa. I want to play for NSW. We're on the up here. We'll all be hungrier again next year.”

Origin eligibility has been in the spotlight for many, many years now, with players regularly lining up for the state they weren't born in.

The NRL tightened and clarified the rules around Origin eligibility some years ago though, and it now appears unlikely that Bula would be able to play for the Blues given his relocation to Queensland at the age of 13.