Ronaldo Mulitalo ineligible to represent Queensland

Drew Darbyshire

Ronaldo Mulitalo (left) and Reece Walsh are seen prior to Game 2 of the 2021 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Sunday, June 27

It has been confirmed that Queensland hopeful Ronaldo Mulitalo is ineligible to represent the Maroons in the State of Origin arena.

The Cronulla Sharks winger was a late call-up for game two last weekend but did not play when concerns were raised about his eligibility to represent Queensland.

Origin eligibility criteria is clear that a player born outside outside of Queensland or New South Wales must reside in one of those two states prior to their 13th birthday, but it has now been confirmed that Mulitalo does not meet the criteria.

Mulitalo represented Queensland at junior level but it has been confirmed that was based on incorrect declarations. He has been denied an exemption to play for the Maroons.

He tweeted: “Hey team, thought I’d let everyone know before the media does.

“I’ve officially been denied an exemption to represent Queensland going forward. This isn’t the way I picture my time ending in the Maroons jersey.

“Learnt many lessons in this journey but most importantly became a better man wearing this jersey. Here’s to new opportunities.”

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said: “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.

“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.”

Mulitalo, who was born in New Zealand, represented Samoa on the international stage as well as playing for the USA at the Nines World Cup in 2019.