Sydney Roosters star Luke Keary will play for Ireland at the World Cup, and there are several more NRL players who are keen to represent their Irish heritage.
Keary has made no secret of the fact he would love to pull on the green jersey at this autumn’s World Cup, which is held in England.
The 30-year-old half-back was born and raised in Australia but qualifies to play for Ireland through his father. Many of Keary’s family are still based in Ireland.
“Luke was part of our plans at the 2017 World Cup and the international eligibility was cleared then but he needed surgery if I remember correctly,” Ireland coach Ged Corcoran told Love Rugby League.
“He was in bits about it because he is really proud of his Irish side of his family. He’s probably got a smaller family in Australia than what he has got back in Ireland to be honest.
“To get his commitment this time is great. He is a champion bloke to speak to. We speak regularly over text and over the phone and he has been heavily involved in our preparations.
“He’s very enthusiastic about what we want to do and has bought into the culture. He is excited about it. He demands a lot of information which is a good sign. Luke is just a world class half-back, so it is good to have him on board.”
More NRL players want to play for Ireland
Keary isn’t the only player in the NRL who will be donning the Wolfhounds jersey this autumn though.
Morgan Harper (Manly), Josh Curran (Warriors), Pat Carrigan (Broncos), Dale Finucane (Sharks), Jaimin Joliffe (Titans), Harry Rushton (Canberra) and Josh Cook (Bulldogs) are all of Irish heritage.
Corcoran doesn’t want to reveal his squad yet. The County Offaly-born coach insists he will only select committed players who want to play for the right reasons.
“I’ve narrowed it (the squad) down,” Corcoran told Love Rugby League.
“There are more than 20-30 players in the NRL and Super League who are eligible but you’ve got to get your horses in the right racecourse. I want the best blokes playing at the highest level. Everything is culture led.
“I think there are seven or eight potentially (from the NRL) but we’ve still got to see how the remaining games go this year. There are some great players in the mix who will add huge accountability to the group.
“I can assure you that the players who will be selected won’t just be coming over for a World Cup; and that they are heavily invested in Rugby League Ireland.
“We need to submit our squads on September 24th so the World Cup can release it. I don’t want to put any added pressure on the players yet because I want them to focus on their club seasons for now.”