There will be no changes made in the near future to State of Origin eligibility rules, the NRL has confirmed.

There will be no changes made in the near future to State of Origin eligibility rules, the NRL has confirmed.

Cowboys’ wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo had been thrust into the spotlight of the debate over players representing both Queensland/New South Wales and a different country, but NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said that the current rules would remain for the time being.

“There is certainly no proposal to change the eligibility in the short term or in the long term for that matter but of course everything will be considered over time but at this stage no,” Abdo said.

Taumalolo, who has lived in Queensland since moving from New Zealand as a 13-year-old, is ineligible to play State of Origin because he represented the Kiwis earlier in his career, between 2014 and 2017, before declaring for Tonga (who he also played for at the 2013 World Cup).

The current rules forbid people who have played internationally for tier one nations (England or New Zealand) from also playing State of Origin.

Abdo said that administrators were more concerned with ensuring that players didn’t have to choose between Origin and representing a developing nation.

“I won’t talk about specific players around Origin eligibility but I would like to clarify something, the Commission is not looking at changing the eligibility for Origin,” he said.

“What we are looking at is standardizing and harmonising the calendar so players who do qualify to play for NSW and Queensland don’t have to choose between that and representing their country in a potential mid-season test.

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“This is not about changing the definition of who qualifies for Origin this is about making sure those that do qualify and do want to play for Origin don’t have to choose.

These changes would potentially allow players to represent both a smaller international team and their state of choice – although Tonga have made several pushes to gain tier one status in the past few years, so that would complicate things further for players who wanted to play for both a state and that country, such as Andrew Fifita and Daniel Tupou.

“We are building towards a dedicated international window at the back end of the season that is good for everyone. It is good for fans, it’s good for State of Origin, it’s good for the international game and that’s really what we’re putting our efforts into,” Abdo said.

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