The 2022 World Cup should be an absolute belter as another NRL star and Origin hopeful has pledged his allegiance overseas.
Sydney Roosters enforcer Victor Radley has declared his eligibility for England for the Rugby League World Cup and is prepared to turn his back on NSW and Australia should England select him for its World Cup team.
Radley has long been in the frame for selection for the NSW Blues but a debut has not yet eventuated, even though he was selected in the squad for game II this season.
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
It was a bizarre call at the time as Radley had suffered a serious ankle injury in round 10 and hadn’t played in weeks.
He since returned to the Roosters line up in round 16 and played on Saturday against the Dragons as well.
But after meeting with English coach Shaun Wane, the 24-year-old appears to be happy to declare his eligibility for the Brits, which would mean he could never represent Australia or NSW.
Under International rules, players cannot switch between tier one nations — Australia, New Zealand, England or Great Britain.
Players such as Brian To’o, who has committed to playing for Samoa in the World Cup, or Kotoni Staggs, who played for both NSW and Tonga this season, are able to switch between teams because their nations are currently deemed Tier 2 nations.
The only question is if England selects Radley, which would officially mean he would no longer be able to represent Australia or NSW.
Radley qualifies for England through his father Nigel, who is from Shieffield.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play for England for my old man. Everybody wants to do the right thing by their dad, don’t they?
“Dad’s proud of where he’s from, proud of his family, proud of supporting Sheffield Wednesday.
“This was a gut feeling that it’s what I want to do – and with the World Cup coming up in England at the end of this year, it was now or never.
“If I ended up sitting there watching the World Cup and knowing I could have been playing for England – that wouldn’t have felt good.”
Wane said all players who want to represent England would be considered.
“I’ve always said that I’m open to selecting players who want to represent their English heritage – but they have to be outstanding in their position, and 100% committed,” he said.
“I rate Victor Radley very highly as a player, and he’s a great addition to the options we have in a position where we have some really strong contenders. We need quality in depth in every position, and Victor is a big addition to that.
“He now joins the group we already have playing in the NRL who will be part of our preparations for the World Cup.
“We’re in regular touch, sharing a lot of information with them, to make sure they’re all ready to be part of our squad if they’re selected.”
While it’s a blow for Australia, the Kangaroos also have a wealth of talent at lock as Isaah Yeo and Wally Lewis Medal winner Pat Carrigan are expected to fight for the 13 jersey.