Internationals NZRL trump Aussies to secure futre Kiwis

NEWBIE_old

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source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-news/sport/4897451/NZRL-trump-Aussies-to-secure-future-Kiwis

NEW Zealand Rugby League CEO Jim Doyle has declared the days of players being selected for the Kiwis, only to embarrassingly turn their back on a black jersey at the last minute, are over.

Just last year, giant Manly winger Tony Williams was named in the Kiwis' 43-man train-on squad for the Four Nations but removed just days later when he was named in Australia's Prime Minister's XIII.

Williams had initially indicated to Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney a desire to play for New Zealand but had also expressed a similar hope to Australia's selectors.

Doyle said the situation – not the first but almost certainly the last – had been disappointing and slightly embarrassing.

As a result, the NZRL boss has now taken to personally writing to potential players in the frame for national selection asking for them to not only declare their intent to play for New Zealand but also stipulate how they are eligible.

Sunday News can also reveal the move has already paid off, with Brisbane Broncos fullback Josh Hoffman this week becoming the first to return the form.

The 23-year-old was born in Queensland but decided on pledging his allegiance to the Kiwis after a trip to New Zealand during summer. His father was born here and hails from Whangarei.

Doyle said last night his organisation never wanted to name a player in the Kiwis again who had not decided whether he wanted to play for New Zealand.

"The intention is to constantly learn from the past and continually improve," he told Sunday News.

"There have been some issues in the past where players have said they'll play for one country and then decided afterwards they will play for another.

"I don't want us to find ourselves in that situation again so we've put together a form and I've told the selectors that if they are considering naming a player who has never played for the Kiwis before we will send them a letter.

"The letter says they are being considered by the selectors for the Kiwis and that we would like them to sign to declare their intent to play for New Zealand and also highlight that they are not only eligible but how they are eligible.

"Once we've got that document the selectors will be able to announce them in the squad."

Doyle wouldn't reveal how many forms had been sent out but NZRL football manager Tony Kemp, who has been at the forefront of the organisation's plans to spread the Kiwis gospel to Australian-based New Zealanders, said last night that Hoffman was the first of potentially many youngsters to sign the form.

"Josh came over at Christmas and was still contemplating who he would play for," Kemp told Sunday News.

"His father took him to the local marae where he was from and they told him a little bit about his history and he knew right then and there he wanted to play for New Zealand.

"Both myself and Steve [Kearney] have spoken to Josh and he confirmed as such and now with the new process we go through in order to avoid what happened last year we sent him the form and he's come back and confirmed his eligibility."

While players are being asked to pledge their intent to play for the Kiwis, Doyle said his organisation would never force someone to pull on the black jersey if they didn't want to.

"If someone signed the form and then didn't make the squad and three months later they chose to play for another country, we wouldn't follow it up," Doyle said.

"We only want players who really want to play for New Zealand.

"The Tony Williams situation was disappointing. He had told our coach he wanted to play for the Kiwis and that's why he was in the squad.

"And then when he was picked for the Australian Prime Minister's XIII he changed his mind.

"That was one of the reasons we've come up with this letter. From our point of view now, we will never name anyone in our squad based only on a conversation they've had with someone.

"It will be based on them saying in writing that they intend to play for the Kiwis."

The NZRL's proactive stance in targeting potential Kiwis players in Australia is sure to be causing some across the ditch to sit up and take notice.

Earlier this month, New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart said he'd noticed more and more youngsters were electing to play for New Zealand rather than the state they called home.

Doyle said the NZRL was simply intent on picking the best Kiwis side possible.

"Obviously, they know the rules of international rugby league allow individuals to play for certain countries where their parents or grandparents were born," Doyle said.

"There's no doubt the Australians are more aware of us now.

"A couple of weeks ago Ricky Stuart wrote in a Sydney newspaper about how we are getting to kids who are eligible for the Kiwis and getting them to declare their allegiance.

"That's a big part of our strategic plan."

hopefully this reduces the number of incidents like the Tony Williams and Nathan Fien Fiasco's.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Moz_old

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"If someone signed the form and then didn't make the squad and three months later they chose to play for another country, we wouldn't follow it up," Doyle said.

"We only want players who really want to play for New Zealand.


...Thats the part I like I think it applies to all rep teams if the player doesnt want to wear your jersey then why try and force him as Tony Soprano would say "fageddabout him". He or she should want to represent their country, state, province, whatever it should be a burning desire IMO

and Tony Williams is no loss anyway
 

NEWBIE_old

Guest
i wonder how many of these forms have been sent out, and I know dont if im reading too much into the article but it looks as Hoffman will be the fullback for the Anzac test
 

cornelius_sulla_old

Guest
I for one am very impressed at how the NZRL are being proactive and smart in recruitment, and also at how they are using the current international eligibility rules to NZ's advantage. Bloody awesome. Big ups to Doyle and Tony Kemp and all those involved in nailing down new talent.
 

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