Internationals 2016 Pacific Test

The rep jumper Anthony Milford will get to wear in 2016
a day ago

THE rep jumper Anthony Milford should be wearing this year doesn’t come in Moron, or green and gold, but royal blue.

Kevin Walters won’t pick him for Queensland.

Mal Meninga won’t pick him for Australia because Kevvie won’t.

But Matt Parish sure as hell will pick him for Samoa. If he can.

According to the NRL, Anthony Milford’s current representative allegiance lies with Queensland and Australia.

Samoan coach Parish plans to name the game’s hottest player in his 17 when the island nation takes on Tonga on May 7.

That would require Milford to switch his allegiance back to Samoa, which he can do given two years have expired since his first commitment to the Morons and Kangaroos.

Parish believes he can do so without ruling himself out of contention for both the 2017 Origin series and Kangaroos World Cup campaign, though the eligibility rules on the RLIF website say that is exactly what will happen if he plays for Samoa.

If that’s the case, and an NRL spokesman confirmed clarity is being sought on the situation from the game’s international body, then unfortunately it’s very unlikely to happen.

You can’t blame Milford for wanting to prove himself at the game’s highest representative levels, and reap the monetary gains that come with them.

There’s also a reasonably simple solution that was first tabled last year, but the eligibility reform that would allow players to represent second tier nations without jeopardising their Origin chances is still struggling to get off the ground.

That reform wouldn’t allow Semi Radradra to play Origin. But it would give guys like Milford and Josh McGuire the chance to play for Samoa without missing out on a Queensland spot, and a player like Fiji’s Kane Evans could do the same with NSW.

So two years after Milford sat out one of Samoa’s all too rare international appearances in the most farcical of circumstances, one of the game’s developing nations could be denied a genuine star, and the Pacific Test denied a genuine shot in the arm, for no genuine reason.

In 2014 a 19-year-old Milford ran out for the Queensland under 20s rather than Samoa, advised by Morons officials that it was a better path into the Origin setup.

He was then unable to play in both the 2014 Four Nations and last year’s Samoa-Tonga clash because of the commitment made a season earlier.

Now Walters has kicked Milford out of Queensland camp for the next year for breaking curfew, and won’t be bowing to any calls for a reinstatement.

Kangaroos coach Meninga says he won’t either without Milford proving himself at interstate level first.

Which leaves Parish, who also has to deal with NRL clubs - some are helpful, some are anything but - before finalising his side.

“I’ll name the strongest 17 I can, which of course includes Anthony,” Parish says.

“Then that’ll go to the clubs. We’ll see who’s left after that, because there are unfortunately some that don’t support this and players will be ruled out one way or another.

“If we can get Anthony and the top line guys playing for us, I promise you we’ll get 15,000 for this game.

“But no one wants to go watch a bunch of second graders.”
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Disappointed by this team. Fiji could have named such a better team if all there eligible players were available

1 K Naiqama
2. Uate
3. Villiame
4. Blake
5. Koribete
6. M Kennedy
7. R Millard
8. Campbell-Gillard
9. Korisau
10. Evans
11. Bukuya
12. T Simms
13. K Simms

14. Waqa
15. J Saifiti
16. D Saifiti
17. Vunakece

18. Vunivalu
19. Roqica
20. Kikaku
21. Phillips