The Blues inclusion who has Maroons fired up ... again
The Queensland Rugby League has called for the end of Origin's dual-eligibility rules after Penrith dynamo Jarome Luai was picked for the NSW Blues despite declaring "my heart is with Samoa".
Luai's breakout season with the Panthers helped him clinch a berth in NSW's 27-man squad ahead of Origin I at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
Luai, 23, was born in Sydney but through his parents' heritage represented the Junior Kiwis and has played five Tests for Samoa since 2017.
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Samoa is currently a Tier 2 league nation, meaning Luai can represent Samoa and also the Blues.
Earlier this month, Luai told a Sydney newspaper he never envisaged playing State of Origin.
"It's never something I've thought about (playing for NSW), only because I thought I wasn't good enough and it was a confidence thing,'' Luai said.
"I'd be eligible for the Blues, but my heart is with Samoa."
But Luai clarified his comments after being called into NSW camp following Penrith's grand final loss to Melbourne on Sunday.
"That (story) was me showing I wanted to play for Samoa. If NSW popped up, then I was happy to take the opportunity," he said.
"It's something I thought I was not good enough to play, (so) I never thought about it - ever."
In a video recorded during a Samoa camp in 2017, Luai was asked whether he supported NSW or Queensland and responded: "Queensland".
The Origin eligibility debate has reignited after the Blues selected Ipswich-born Luke Keary, who wrote a letter to the NRL pleading to be declared a Queenslander.
Queensland debutant Moeaki Fotuaika represented the Junior Kiwis and was eligible for Tonga, but switched allegiances this year.
While Luai was born in Australia and qualifies for the Blues, QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher wants eligibility rules to be overhauled to prevent Origin players from representing multiple nations.
"The most recent discussion, which I wasn't part of, was to increase the eligibility of more players to play Origin, including Islanders and New Zealanders who declare their allegiance to their country of birth," he said.
"One would expect it would not be too hard to give allegiance to a state, and if you do that then you should really want to represent Australia.
"There needs to be a common sense approach. But I have no doubt the current Origin qualifications need to be closely guarded.
"The passion any NSW or Maroons enthusiast has for his jersey stems from the pathways through to the top of that competition which is the NRL.
"I wouldn't like to change the qualification rules for Origin to let people who haven't committed to their state and want to play for their nation.
"We've got to keep that tight rein on Origin otherwise it loses its competitiveness to a great extent."
Originally published as The Blues inclusion who has Maroons fired up ... again