League: Meninga won't coax Kiwi pair

Mal Meninga admits he feels for New Zealand-born Queensland targets Sam Kasiano (left) and Josh Papalii as they wrestled with their allegiances. Photo / Getty Images.
Mal Meninga admits he feels for New Zealand-born Queensland targets Sam Kasiano (left) and Josh Papalii as they wrestled with their allegiances. Photo / Getty Images.

While making no apologies for his Kiwi raids, Mal Meninga admits he feels for New Zealand-born Queensland targets Sam Kasiano and Josh Papalii as they wrestled with their allegiances.

However, the Maroons coach ruled out "chewing their ear" to persuade the former Junior Kiwis to choose Queensland ahead of next month's end-of-season trans-Tasman Test in Townsville.

"There's no need for me to do that. I have had a yarn with them but I just want to see where their head is at," he told AAP.

"It is not up to me to persuade them. I would love to have them in that program but it is up to them.

"From my perspective ... to play for Queensland they have got to have a passion to do that.

"If they have that passion, so be it and let them get on with their lives."

However, Meninga agreed State of Origin eligibility rules must be cleared up by next year.

In March, the ARLC hoped a new system in which players are asked six key questions about their origins would avoid another Greg Inglis-style scandal.

However, an even bigger controversy erupted a month later when a loophole allowed Kiwi-born James Tamou to play for Australia then NSW.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to re-address the rules, let's be honest," Meninga said.

"The way the rules are they (Kasiano, Papalii) have every right to make a decision about who they want to play for.

"These kids have been playing in the Queensland junior comps for a number of years.

"But I feel for them. Let's hope we can get more clarity. It's fairly grey at the moment - we need some decisions that are black and white."

It is believed the ARL Commission are considering a new model in which a player will be ineligible for NSW or Queensland selection if he has spent less than 50 per cent of his life in Australia.

That would rule out Kasiano, 21, from being a Maroon because he arrived in Queensland aged 16.

He would also be ineligible under Meninga's proposed system.

"It should be based on age," he said.

"If a player comes from anywhere in the world before say 13 or 14 then his rugby league development has been through that junior system whether it be Queensland or NSW and he should be eligible for that respective state.

"Take the pressure off the players themselves and have a clear cut, definite age.

"If they come after that time - whether they are Kiwi or English - that is what defines them."

Meninga flew out of Australia on Friday - but not due to the furore created by his interest in New Zealand-born players.

As Prime Minister's XIII coach, Meninga touched down with his team in Port Moresby in preparation for Sunday's annual clash against the PNG Kumuls.

-AAP

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