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State of Origin, Kangaroos, World Cup, Cameron Smith, Samoa, eligibility debate, who can play Origin

NRL great Cameron Smith believes there may not be a single Kangaroos representative playing Origin in 10 years, as he weighs in on the fierce debate surrounding international eligibility.

After featuring in the Blues’ squad for game two of this year’s series, the roster lock continued to be debated as Victor Radley renounced his allegiance to England.

New South Wales winger Brian Toa has opted to represent Samoa at the World Cup later this year, while Paul Kent has hinted that Jarome Luai will don Toa’s Samoan colours.

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Smith, who played 56 Tests for Australia and won two World Cup titles, was adamant that only qualified players should be selected for the Kangaroos in the off-season.

Speaking on SEN Captain Run Marnos’ assistant coach said Thursday morning that the eligibility rules are “too hard” to be accurate.

“I think it would be a mess if we opened the floodgates and said, ‘Do what you can,'” Smith said at the event.

“We could realistically get to a point, let’s say 10-15 years down the track, where nobody who plays for Origin plays for the Kangaroos. This is an absolute reality in the next 10 years.

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Let’s say half of the soccer players in their home state, they represent other countries. It’s going to be a really, really weird situation we find ourselves in.

The next decision, or the next conversation we have around this eligibility issue, needs to be planned really well.

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The Kangaroos have not taken the field since November 2019 when they lost to Tonga 16-12 in front of the Red Sea in Auckland.

Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has been lined up in the No.2 jersey for the Australian team, and is believed to be in line for the World Cup despite his origins being forgotten.

Smith used his former Melbourne Storm team-mate as an example to explain how the chaos of qualification can see a man playing international football, despite not being good enough for Origin.

“Brian Too has played in all three home state matches for New South Wales, and that’s good, he’s an in-form winger for New South Wales and he should have been there,” he added.

But he won’t be representing Australia at the end of the year. I’ll tell you a big chance who’s going to be there and that’s Josh Addo-Carr.

Cameron Smith After winning the World Cup in 2017, he gave a big thumbs up to the crowd. Photo: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource: AAP

“Let’s say Josh was selected for the World Cup and I feel that’s true, Josh Addo-Carr was going to represent Australia at the World Cup but he wasn’t good enough to play. New South Wales.

“We find ourselves in a situation where there are people who cannot even start in our home state[teams]or players representing our country. I think this is where we have to make a decision about eligibility rules. “

The former Kangaroos captain believes the Australian national team should nominate a country of their choice so that the few players competing on the starting stage do not suffer.

Smith’s solution is for players to decide whether or not they want to play for Australia, which then qualifies them for a generation or another country.

“I think if you want to play for the home state of Queensland or the Australian state of New South Wales, you have to be ready to play for the Kangaroos. I really do.

“If you’re not selected for the Kangaroos, you can play for your second-choice country. I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to play for your family’s heritage…I totally get that.

But if you want to put your hand up and say ‘I want to play home country football’, you’re representing Australia.

“If you’re willing, and you’re happy to play Origin, if you take everything that Homeland has to offer, not to mention the huge amount of money per match, then you should be ready to play Homeland. For Australia at least to be chosen for them.

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