Players will be excluded from State of Origin selection by the NRL because of off-field transgressions, as game’s governing body takes a hard-line stance on player misbehaviour.
The move comes after Andrew Fifita and Semi Radradra’s exclusion on Tuesday from Australia’s Four Nations squad due to behavioural issues.
ARL Chairman John Grant said the code had set a standard that would straddle the entire representative scene.
“You will see this sort of cultural statement flow down to Origin,” Grant said on Tuesday at Rugby League Central at the announcement of the Kangaroos’ Four Nations squad.
Fifita was left out as a result of his support of one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge, while Radradra faces domestic violence allegations.
Fifita and Radradra had been permitted to continue playing in the NRL due to their contracts with their respective Cronulla and Parramatta clubs, Grant explained.
“They are contracted to their clubs – their clubs are bound to that contract of employment,” Grant said.
“There is not a contract to play with the Kangaroos. It is a privilege and an honour.”
Player misbehaviour has punctuated much of 2016, starting with Mitchell Pearce’s Australia Day antics.
Last year, Pearce’s Sydney Roosters teammate Shaun Kenny-Dowall was permitted to play on the Kiwis end-of-season tour despite facing allegations of domestic violence. The NRL refused to cede to requests from NSW Premier Mike Baird to stand down Kenny-Dowall who was found not guilty in February of all 11 charges levelled at him.
NSW coach Laurie Daley took his own stance against player dramas when he excluded Pearce from selection in 2014, after the star halfback was arrested in Kings Cross.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters was also forced to move on players’ off-field antics earlier this year.
Ben Hunt, Dylan Napa, Anthony Milford, Jarrod Wallace, Edrick Lee and Chris Grevsmuhl joined Cameron Munster and Valentine Holmes in all being excluded from Maroons selection this year after a boozy night out in January during an emerging Origin camp.
Holmes has subsequently earned selection in coach Mal Meninga’s 24-man Four Nations squad after a starring season with premiers Cronulla.