Jack de Belin turns down World Cup chance with Papua New Guinea

St George Illawarra forward Jack de Belin says he has turned down the opportunity to play for Papua New Guinea at this year’s World Cup because he would feel like a “fraud”.

The 31-year-old is eligible to play for Papua New Guinea as his grandmother was born in the pacific nation. The Dragons star was approached by the PNG coach Stanley Tepend with a view to playing for the Kumuls. However after thinking long and hard about the decision, he has turned it down.

De Belin admits he does not feel enough of a connection to Papua New Guinea. He also believes it would be unfair to deny a local the chance to represent their nation at the World Cup.

Papua New Guinea opportunity

“I’d love to help out and what not, but I just don’t feel like it’s right. I’m taking away a spot from someone who is actually from PNG and deserves it,” de Belin said.

“That’s why I feel like a bit of a fraud in a sense. I’ve never been there, I’ve never had any connection to the culture or the people. Maybe if I’d been over there a couple of times or got to know a bit more of the culture, I’d have a bit more to do with it. As of right now, it just wouldn’t be right for me.”

Even though De Belin’s grandmother was born in Papua New Guinea, it was to Australian parents. She also returned to Australia in the early years of he life.

“My nan was born there. She’s not actually Papua New Guinean though, with her heritage. I’ve got no PNG blood,” he added. “Maybe if I had been over there a couple of times and got to know a bit of the culture and had a bit more to do with it, but as of right now it just wouldn’t be right for me.”

Jack de Belin holds out Australia hopes

De Belin admits that the temptation to play for Papua New Guinea will always be there. But says it doesn’t feel right and he still holds out hope of representing Australia one day. Even though time is running out.

“My No.1 goal is always to play for Australia and hopefully at some point I can do that even though the clock is ticking,” de Belin said. “There is always the temptation there (to play for PNG), everyone has the urge to be playing representative football.

“(But when I was young) I didn’t feel comfortable with it and it’s still a similar feeling.”

About Michael Holland 124 Articles
Love Rugby League writer.


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