Paper Talk: England international keen on playing State of Origin for Queensland & thank God for Leigh

James Gordon

Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images

An England international could soon feature in State of Origin, an NRL player has been stood down following an off-field interest and what attracted a former Bradford coach to drop down to League 1.

Playing for England and Queensland?

England’s Herbie Farnworth could be a beneficiary if the eligibility rules surrounding State of Origin are relaxed.

ARL chief Wayne Pearce is considering whether Queensland and New South Wales should be allowed to select players that play internationally for England and New Zealand.

The international eligibility requirements has long been a contentious issue with State of Origin, and the relaxation of rules relating to tier 2 nations has resulted in the recent boom of heritage nations like Tonga and Samoa.

That doesn’t apply currently to the so-called tier 1 nations, including England, which means that Victor Radley’s decision to declare for England in time for last year’s World Cup automatically ruled him out of contention to play in State of Origin.

Burnley-born Farnworth moved to Australia as a teenager to join the Brisbane Broncos system and so would qualify to represent Queensland.

He told The Australian: “Playing State of Origin would be unreal. I have been here since I was 14 years old, so I love Queensland.

“I don’t think I could ever forget my English roots, but if they change the rules and I can play for both England and Queensland, I would do it. But we’ll see.”

READ MORE: England international Herbie Farnworth to make NRL move in 2024

“It’s not a Toronto Wolfpack”

New Midlands Hurricanes boss Mark Dunning says their approach to expansion aims to be a sustainable one.

The ex-Bradford coach took over at the Alexander Stadium earlier this week to help the club realise its potential.

He told League Express: “The people in charge here have a strong vision, and a burning desire to succeed, but are realistic about the timescale.

“It’s not a Toronto Wolfpack, where money is poured in to try to achieve instant success, with the risk that everything can crash and burn, but a bid to grow a club in a measured way from strong foundations.

“Playing at the Alexander Stadium provides a real cornerstone for doing that. It will be one of the best venues outside Super League, and will help us attract both players and spectators.

“There’s an established amateur rugby league scene in the region, which we want to draw on.”

Thank God for Leigh

John Asiata says sticking to his religious beliefs has helped him become a star in Super League.

The Leigh Leopards loose forward was dropped by his NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs for refusing to have the COVID-19 vaccination.

He told The Sun: “Not being able to play in the NRL was hard but God always closes doors that need to be closed and opens ones that need to be opened.

“And he opened the door for me to travel to the UK and play. Sometimes you question whether it’s the right thing but as a man of faith, you just believe – what has happened has happened for a reason.”

NRL player stood down

Parramatta Eels stand-off Dylan Brown has been stood down as per NRL protocol after allegations were made that he sexually touched a woman without her consent.

He was charged by New South Wales police following an incident in Sydney at the weekend, reports The Guardian.

In a statement the NRL said the “decision should in no way be interpreted as a view on the innocence or guilt of the player”.

Brown was due to feature for the Eels this weekend against Canterbury Bulldogs, but is now likely to be unavailable until at least his case is heard on June 28.

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