22 May 2015

Sport: Support for Pacific league players mixing Origin with tests

8:04 am on 22 May 2015

Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf says he's all for a move to allow Pacific Island players to compete in State of Origin, while still being able to represent the country of their heritage.

Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf.

Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf. Photo: Townsville Blackhawks

Current eligibility rules mean all players wanting to be considered for Origin must align their allegiance with Australia.

That's forced the likes of Samoa's Anthony Milford and Fiji's Akuila Uate to miss out on test football, despite the fact they weren't actually picked for Queensland or New South Wales.

Toa prop Josh McGuire is also unlikely to play another test until after the 2017 World Cup, after he was this week named in the Maroons squad.

Kristian Woolf says a relaxing of the rules would strengthen the international game.

"I'd love to see the day where your Anthony Milford's are playing for Samoa and I'd certainly hate to see guys like Nene MacDonald and Rhys Martin and those sort of guys in the future not be able to play for PNG. It's the same with Tonga - guys like Michael Jennings, Andrew Fifita, Will Hopopate, Daniel Tupou, who are all playing for New South Wales, I would have certainly loved to have them available for Tonga and I think while it was a terrific game anyway [against Samoa] if you add that sort of class and quality into any of those teams it makes it a better spectacle and obviously attracts more fans to watch the game as well, so I think it would be a win win for all."

Mr Woolf says there are a lot of Pacific players who are passionate about playing for their country and it would be a shame to deny them that opportunity.