Milford declares availability for Samoa
Brisbane star Anthony Milford has confirmed his desire to play for Samoa in the May 6 Test against England at Campbelltown Stadium and at the end of season Rugby League World Cup.
Milford, who is also eligible to play for Australia, said he was keen to pit wits against his Broncos mentor Wayne Bennett – the England coach – in the mid-season Test during the NRL’s stand-alone representative weekend.
If he is not chosen in the Kangaroos 24-man World Cup squad, Milford also wants to play in the tournament for Samoa, whom he last represented in 2013.
“For now, I’m available and whatever happens, happens,” Milford told the Courier Mail (QLD) about the prospect of him returning to the Samoa side this year.
“It would (be good to play against England) and to put the blue jersey of Samoa back on would be pretty cool and pretty surreal.”
In the past Milford has been unable to represent Samoa without jeopardising his chances of playing for Queensland and Australia but changes to the international eligibility rules will allow him to do both.
The changes mean that players with dual eligibility such as Milford, Jarryd Hayne (Fiji) or Michael Jennings (Tonga) can nominate one Tier 1 nation (Australia, New Zealand and England) and one Tier 2 or 3 nation they qualify for.
To be eligible, a player must either be born in the nation they wish to represent, have a parent or grandparent born there, or have been a resident of that country for the previous 60 months (five years).
“It’s good for the sport that players who miss out on the Kiwi or Aussie side can play for their (heritage) nation,” Milford said. “It makes the comp a lot harder. I’m looking forward to it.’’
Milford told rlwc2017.com after the Broncos opening round win over Cronulla that the new eligibility rules were “beautiful” but stopped short of committing to play for Samoa in the May 6 Test.
However, he is now set to be one of a host of Brisbane players in international action at Campbelltown Stadium, which will also host Tests between Tonga and Fiji and Papua New Guinea against Cook Islands.
Broncos centre Tautau Moga and lock Josh McGuire are also eligible for Samoa, while prop Korbin Sims is expected to play for Fiji and forwards Joe Ofahengau and Tevita Pangai Junior for Tonga.
Samoa have a tough pool in the World Cup and face New Zealand at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on October 28 before meeting Tonga at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on November 4 and Scotland at Barlow Park in Cairns on November 11.