It is hard to fathom why the NRL seems to be intent on preventing Jason Taumalolo from representing for the Maroons for this year’s State of Origin series.
The brain trust of the Maroons first obstacle was to see if the North Queensland Cowboy backrower could be freed of his connection to Tonga in order to take on NSW. A stickier issue is that JT has 10 Test caps for New Zealand.
What’s the problem?
The Cowboys, Tonga, and New Zealand – all of those are in Queensland.
The Maroons seem to be exploring every conceivable avenue to stock their list, as the loss to the Blues in 2018 was as unwelcome as a brown tree snake in the nursery.
Tonga and New Zealand are both Tier One nations. Taumalolo played for New Zealand in the 2017 World Cup and he has confirmed his allegiance to Tonga in June of 2018, so it would seem as though the Maroon might be guilty of overreaching to some degree.
“Under current RLIF (Rugby League International Federation) rules around eligibility, players cannot represent two Tier One nations,” a NRL spokesman said. “If Jason Taumalolo were to play for Queensland, he would need to make himself available for Australia.”
JT’s debut in the 2019 Telstra NRL Premiership competition will see the Cows square off with St. George at 1300 Smiles Stadium. The market is open for this tilt and Sportsbet has it dead even, so Taumalolo could be a difference maker, but if the bookies are right, this one will end in the rare draw, although that would be a poor punt since the NRL introduced the Golden Point system in 2003.
Between the introduction and the end of the 2018 NRL season, the NRL has featured over 100 points that offered a drawn result at the end of regular time. In the 16 seasons since then, only 14 games have remained drawn.