QUEENSLAND Origin star Greg Inglis would have been a New South Wales player under new eligibility rules released yesterday by the Australian Rugby League Commission.
After regular criticism of the rules in recent years that have allowed players to represent the state where they first played senior football, the Commission yesterday ruled that to represent either state, the player must have lived in that state before the age of 13.
Chairman John Grant said the under-13 cut-off had been put forward by the general manager of game development, Andrew Hill, after consultation with prominent present and former rugby league coaches Wayne Bennett, Bob Fulton and Tim Sheens.
The only exceptions to the rule will be for sons of former Origin players.
To be eligible to play Origin football, the player must be eligible to represent Australia.
"State-of-Origin is an incredibly important part of the game and the heart of the concept is a person's state of origin," Grant said.
"It is fundamental therefore that the concept is preserved on that basis, simply because it is so unique."
As well as the State-of-Origin eligibility issue, the Commission yesterday unveiled a definition of the outlawed shoulder tackle, and also announced changes to the way video referees made some decisions.
Having determined last month that the shoulder charge would be deemed an illegal tackle from 2013, the Commission approved an amendment to the NRL Rules that provides a definition of the outlawed tackle as follows:
"Where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side)."
Under amended NRL judiciary code rules, players will no longer be automatically referred to the judiciary panel for illegal contact from shoulder charges. Instead, penalties for shoulder charges will range from a base of 200 points (two-match suspension) for a grade 1 charge, increasing to 800 points (eight matches) for a grade five charge.
Also from next year, video referees will not have the 'benefit of the doubt' option in adjudicating tries.
Referees will make an on-field call in relation to every try-scoring situation, and in cases where the match referee has concerns about his decision he will indicate "time out", signal that the video referee is to be introduced, and then signal his on-field decision.
Only in those cases where the video referee believes there is 'sufficient' evidence to suggest the on-field decision was wrong will he overturn the decision.
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