NRL: George Burgess slams Aussies pledging English allegiance

George Burgess of England is tackled during the Four Nations. Photo / Getty Images
George Burgess of England is tackled during the Four Nations. Photo / Getty Images

George Burgess has hit out at the Australian-born players considering pledging their allegiance to a Wayne Bennett coached England side, labelling it 'not right'.

Since taking the reins of England in February, Bennett has attempted to convince players overlooked by Australia to represent the mother country.

The likes of Trent Hodkinson, Darcy Lussick and Josh and Brett Morris have all expressed a desire to play for England in this year's Four Nations tournament, starting in late October.

While these players are yet to make an official decision, Burgess believes it would be unfair if an Australian was selected in favour of a British-born player.

"I think it's wrong when some Australian players think they can walk into the England team if they are eligible," Burgess told The Sunday Telegraph.

"For me that's not the point of playing for your country. We've got a strong team at the minute and we are hoping to contest for a final spot at the Four Nations.

"It's tough competition to get a spot in the team at the moment and no one can just walk in to it.

"I mean every case is different and some players have genuine interest in representing their country through parents who are English.

"But I think if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, I don't think it's right."

Burgess may feel strongly about Australian players donning England's colours, but his South Sydney teammate and Kangaroo rival Greg Inglis insists it's a positive for the growth of the global game.

Inglis also can't begrudge any player for wanting to link up with Bennett given his proven success as a coach and man manager.

"I'm pretty sure Wayne has done a little bit of sneaking around and making sure he can get away with everything he can," Inglis joked. "But I think it's great for international rugby league in general.

"Obviously Wayne is reading the rules and guidelines of the rule book, but he is a great coach and a great mastermind.

"I'm pretty sure he has been doing things behind closed doors and players obviously want to play for Wayne. If it means they can't play for Australia, then they'll put their hand up for England."

Inglis has always had a healthy respect for England, especially following the emergence of NRL calibre players like James Graham and Sam Burgess.

He expects the Englishmen to be even more potent if they can add names like Hodkinson or the Morris twins to their roster.

"They are going to be a dangerous side," he said.

"They have been growing and growing for the last few years and they have definitely put their hand up without a doubt."

- news.com.au

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