Meninga won't coax Kiwi pair
Friday 21 Sep 2012 8:07 p.m.
Mal Meninga (AAP file)
By Laine Clark
While making no apologies for his Kiwi raids, Mal Meninga admits he feels for New Zealand-born Queensland targets Sam Kasiano and Josh Papalii as they wrestle with their allegiances.
However, the Maroons coach ruled out "chewing their ear" to persuade the former Junior Kiwis to choose Queensland ahead of next month's end-of-season trans-Tasman Test in Townsville.
"There's no need for me to do that. I have had a yarn with them but I just want to see where their head is at," he tells AAP.
"It is not up to me to persuade them. I would love to have them in that programme but it is up to them.
"From my perspective, to play for Queensland they have got to have a passion to do that.
"If they have that passion, so be it and let them get on with their lives."
However, Meninga agreed State of Origin eligibility rules must be cleared up by next year.
In March, the ARLC hoped a new system in which players are asked six key questions about their origins would avoid another Greg Inglis-style scandal.
However, an even bigger controversy erupted a month later when a loophole allowed Kiwi-born James Tamou to play for Australia then NSW.
"It's a fantastic opportunity to re-address the rules, let's be honest," Meninga says.
"The way the rules are they (Kasiano, Papalii) have every right to make a decision about who they want to play for.
"These kids have been playing in the Queensland junior comps for a number of years.
"But I feel for them. Let's hope we can get more clarity. It's fairly grey at the moment - we need some decisions that are black and white."
It is believed the ARL Commission are considering a new model in which a player will be ineligible for NSW or Queensland selection if he has spent less than 50 per cent of his life in Australia.
That would rule out Kasiano, 21, from being a Maroon because he arrived in Queensland aged 16.