Queensland Rugby League managing director Robert Moore has responded to today's National Rugby League decision to rule Ronaldo Mulitalo out of Queensland Maroons contention.
“Any dispute or uncertainly about a player’s eligibility is ruled on by the NRL, and we accept the decision they have arrived at today,” Moore said.
“While Ronaldo won’t be able to realise his dream of playing for the Maroons, he has a bright future in the game and we look forward to watching the continuation of his rugby league journey.
“Dealing with an eligibility issue during an Origin series isn’t ideal for anyone, and we understand the frustrations of many. In our discussions with the NRL, we have made some suggestions about ways to tighten up the system at state and national level.”
The NRL released the below statement.
The NRL has received correspondence from the QRL confirming that Ronaldo Mulitalo does not meet the eligibility requirements for the Queensland State of Origin team.
Origin eligibility criteria is clear that a player born outside of Queensland or NSW must reside in one of those two states prior to their 13th birthday. It has now been confirmed that Mulitalo does not meet that criteria.
In considering a request by the QRL for an exemption to the rules the NRL determined that, other than being wrongly allowed to represent Queensland at age group level, there was little to differentiate Mulitalo’s case from any other player who has narrowly missed Origin eligibility criteria. Furthermore, the reason for Mulitalo representing Queensland at junior level was based on incorrect declarations.
For these reasons, the QRL’s request for an exemption to the rules has not been granted.
The NRL will now develop, with the States, stronger quality assurance procedures in the declarations made by players regarding their eligibility.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the game had to be fair to all players.
“The Origin rules are clear – if you are born outside of Queensland or NSW you must reside in one of the states before your 13th birthday. After further investigation Ronaldo does not meet that criteria,’’ he said.
“While I acknowledge Ronaldo was wrongly allowed to represent Queensland at age group level, it doesn’t change the fact he was ineligible to play.
“In considering the exemption we have not found good reason that would differentiate Ronaldo from any other player who narrowly misses Origin eligibility.
“It would not be fair to allow Ronaldo to play but deny eligibility to other players who would like to play Origin but narrowly miss the criteria.”