“Could somebody please help me, I’m a little bit confused. When selectors choose for Queensland could you tell me what map they use? Where you’re born and where you come from surely that’s your origin. So could somebody please tell me what state these towns are in?”
These are the opening lyrics from the 2012 Denis Carnahan hit “That’s in Queensland”. Last year we were promised by the ARLC that new eligibility guidelines would finally clear up which state you were eligible to play for. We could all rest easy knowing that Bowraville is in fact in NSW.
I, like Carnahan though, am still a little bit confused, so “Could somebody please tell me what state these towns are in?”
- Where is Gerringong? And…
- Where is Ipswich?
The answer to question one? Yep you guessed it. “That’s in Queensland”. Looks like Queensland have snared another one from south of the Tweed. Korbin Sims. Born and raised in Gerringong NSW. Younger brother of NRL stars and proud New South Welshman (and Fijians) Ashton and Tariq Sims. Korbin qualified for QLD under the previous eligibility guidelines, which allowed players to select their State of Origin once they turned 16. We’ve now moved on from Mate vs Mate and on to Brother vs Brother?
In an interview with the Brett Keeble from The Newcastle Sun in 2012, Korbin was quoted saying ‘‘I moved up there at that age of choosing to play for who I wanted to play for, and I just chose Queensland at the time.”
Wait a minute…he chose what? Here you have a young man who grew up in the same town as NSW great Michael Cronin CHOOSING to play for Queensland?
Earlier this year Korbin was selected in the Queensland Emerging Squad and in an interview with Tony Webeck from nrl.com he was quoted saying “I’m proud to say that I’m playing for Queensland and I’m never going to go back on my word.”
What makes a young man from such a proud rugby league town in NSW turn to the dark side? In that same interview Korbin explains “I had an opportunity to play my senior football up in Queensland and I took it. I had an opportunity to play my first representative football for Queensland and I took it and ever since those decisions were made I’ve thought, Yeah, I want to play for Queensland.”
Now to answer question number 2. Where is Ipswich? Apparently that’s in New South Wales! Luke Keary. The young South Sydney halfback appears to have been caught up in the new ‘clearer’ eligibility guidelines. Born and raised in Ipswich QLD, Keary and his family moved to Parramatta when he was 10. Now it should be noted that while Keary played most of his junior and representative football in NSW, he returned to QLD in 2011 to play for the Burleigh Bears before connecting with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Unlike the Korbin Sim’s case, Keary does not get a choice on which state he is eligible for. Under the new criteria, four out of the five guidelines make him a Blue with the only one not, being the fact he was born in the same town as QLD Origin great Alan Langer. Keary has been told personally in no uncertain terms that he is a New South Welshman. The only issue here is that he doesn’t want to represent NSW.
How does this situation come about? How can two young men, one born south of the Tweed, the other north of it both want to play for the Maroons? Is it the mystique and lure of that Queenslander passion that we constantly hear of? Apart from Peter Sterling, how many Queenslanders actually wanted to play for NSW? The late Arthur Beetson couldn’t wait to pull on that Queensland jersey and eradicate any memories of representing NSW.
Surely there’s a simple solution to all of this. Surely we should be giving more credence to the word ‘origin’. I think Denis Carnahan nailed it in his opening verse. If only the ARLC would agree.
By Anthony Mitri