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Abdo: No changes to Origin eligibility

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo says State of Origin eligibility rules will not change, effectively ending Queensland’s plan to recruit Jason Taumalolo for the Maroons in 2021.

Abdo, in Brisbane on Tuesday to launch the 2021 Magic Round, revealed the ARL Commission had no plans to change the Origin criteria in the short or long term while reaffirming the game's commitment to make a call on a 17th NRL franchise based in Brisbane by July this year.

Taumalolo had expressed a desire to join new coach Paul Green’s Maroons this year but having represented New Zealand in the formative years of his career he is ineligible for Origin because he played for a tier one country.

Abdo said the NRL were working towards creating an "international window" for the future but it would not alter any wording around the eligibility criteria for State of Origin.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo at the launch of Magic Round.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo at the launch of Magic Round. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"There is certainly no proposal to change the eligibility in the short term or in the long term for that matter but of course everything will be considered over time but at this stage no," Abdo said.

"I won’t talk about specific players around Origin eligibility but I would like to clarify something, the Commission is not looking at changing the eligibility for Origin.

"What we are looking at is standardizing and harmonising the calendar so players who do qualify to play for NSW and Queensland don’t have to choose between that and representing their country in a potential mid-season test.

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"This is not about changing the definition of who qualifies for Origin this is about making sure those that do qualify and do want to play for Origin don’t have to choose.

"We are building towards a dedicated international window at the back end of the season that is good for everyone. It is good for fans, it’s good for State of Origin, it’s good for the international game and that’s really what we’re putting our efforts into."

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