The NRL has handed down its final verdict in the State of Origin storm that saw a Maroons debutant banned at the eleventh hour.
Sharks star Ronaldo Mulitalo has officially been banned from playing State of Origin football following an NRL investigation into his eligibility.
The winger’s Queensland dream was dashed at the last minute when NSW raised questions about his background with the Queensland Rugby League the day before NSW’s epic Game 2 slaughter of Queensland on Sunday night.
He had been brought into the Maroons starting side as a replacement for injured fullback Reece Walsh, but the situation completely fell apart from there.
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The 21-year-old posted on Twitter Friday night that he had been told the bad news.
“Hey team. Thought I’d let everyone know before the media does. I’ve officially been denied an exemption to represent Queensland going forward,” he posted on Twitter.
“This isn’t the way I pictured my time ending in the maroon jersey. Learnt many lessons in this journey but most importantly became a better man wearing this jersey. Here’s to new opportunities.”
Mulitalo was born in New Zealand and reportedly lived there until he was nearly 14. Revised Origin eligibility rules approved in 2012 mean players needed to have resided in either NSW or Queensland before their 13th birthday to be able to compete in the interstate contest.
The NRL released a statement on Sunday morning saying Queensland had withdrawn Mulitalo “after being uncertain of his eligibility” to play.
Mulitalo has represented Queensland at Under-18 and Under-20 level but it has now been confirmed he should not have been allowed to given his personal circumstances.
Mulitalo spoke publicly just hours ahead of Sunday’s game to declare he is “heartbroken” and p***ed off” about his eligibility being questioned after so many years of representing Queensland in junior rugby league.