NRL: Meninga pleads for clear rules as he eyes Kiwi stars for his Queensland side

NZ-born Sam Kasiano has to decide on a team soon. Photo / Matt King
NZ-born Sam Kasiano has to decide on a team soon. Photo / Matt King

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

However, the Maroons coach ruled out "chewing their ear" to persuade the former Junior Kiwis to choose Queensland before next month'send-of-season transtasman test in Townsville.

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

"It's not up to me to persuade them. I would love to have them in that programme but it's up to them.

"From my perspective ... to play for Queensland they've 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 ARL Commission 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 New South Wales.

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

"The way the rules are [Kasiano and 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 commission is 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 at 16.

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

"It should be based on age," Meninga 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're Kiwi or English, that is what defines them."


-AAP

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