‘He’s ours now’: Blues hit back at Maroons’ Keary claim
Lucky border closures weren't enforced throughout State of Origin history otherwise Queensland might not have been able to field a side.
Blues legends have stepped forward to take aim at Queensland's whinging over NSW's decision to select Luke Keary at five-eighth for State of Origin I.
While he played for the Junior Maroons back in 2012, Keary - under strict NRL eligibility laws - is now a passionate New South Welshmen. His family moved from Queensland when Keary was just 10 years old, settling in northwest Sydney.
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The moaning north of the closed border is remarkable, say former Blues champions, given the amount of players Queensland has arrogantly pinched off NSW over Origin's 40-year history.
Queensland's Courier Mail described Keary's selection as a "farce."
"It's the same farce NSW has had to live with for decades," said former NSW forward David "Cement' Gillespie. "Isn't it strange Queensland starts bringing all this up after they start to lose."
Ex-NSW players also claim the complaining went silent during Queensland's rampaging eight-year reign as Origin champions.
And why wouldn't Queensland keep conveniently quiet about eligibility.
The breathtaking list of players that scream 'Queenslander, Queenslander' have been stolen from NSW, ACT, Fiji, Ireland, Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
There's Greg Inglis (Kemspey), Israel Folau (Minto), Sam Thaiday (Baulkham Hills), Billy Moore (Tenterfield), Josh Papalii (Auckland), Mick Croker (Auburn), Adrian Lam (PNG), Petero Civoniceva (Fiji), Matt Gillett (Macksville), Tonie Carroll (Christchurch), Brad Thorn (Mosgiel), Robbie O'Davis (Kurrajong), Paul Bowman (Newcastle), John O'Neill (Hornsby), Karmichael Hunt (Auckland), Mat Rogers (Caringbah), Scott Sattler (Camperdown), Wayne Bartrim (Hat Head), Chris Flannery (Cowra), Lote Tuqiri (Fiji), Ben Te'o (Auckland), Norm Carr (Coffs Harbour), John Dowling (Murwillumbah), Craig Smith (Kaitaia, New Zealand), Neville Costigan (PNG), Antonio Kaufusi (Tonga), Chris Phelan (Ireland), Tony Hearn (Canberra), and Willie Tonga (Canberra).
Now Queensland want to blow up over Keary with former NSW forward Bryan Fletcher saying: "Luke Keary made his NRL debut in 2013. They have had seven years to pick him and haven't.
"If they wanted him, they should have tried harder back then. He's ours now. They are struggling for a five-eighth and they pull this card out.
"I tell you what we should do. How about we loan him to Queensland when we're two-nil up? They can have him for the dead rubber.
"Are they trying to take the heat off the current squad. Is it the old smoke bomb? Poor old Luke Keary, he is stuck in the middle of it."
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QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher has even called for an investigation into Origin's eligibility rules - after his state lost in 2018 and again in 2019.
It prompted Royce Ayliffe, the fierce prop who played for NSW in 1980, '81 and '82, to take a swipe at Queensland.
"It's not like Queensland to start whining when they're losing. Should we start naming all the Queensland players who weren't born in Queensland?" Ayliffe said.
"They have stolen players from everywhere for so long and never uttered a syllable. Suddenly they're moaning again before NSW has kicked their backsides over the past two years."
Before naming Keary in a Blues pathway program five years ago, then NSW coach sought official clarification about which state the player would represent.
"And we were told if Luke was going to play State of Origin then it would be for NSW - end of story," Daley said. "Those are the rules."
Originally published as 'He's ours now': Blues hit back at Maroons' Keary claim