De Belin can't see himself playing for PNG

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Jack de Belin has all but shut the door on representing Papua New Guinea, admitting he would feel like a fraud taking a spot off a local who deserved it.

De Belin is technically eligible for the Kumuls under rugby league's international rules, with his maternal grandmother born in the country.

The former NSW State of Origin forward was approached by Papua New Guinea coach Stanley Tepend regarding next week's Pacific Test against Fiji, but at the time was undecided.

But the St George Illawarra middle is now comfortable with the decision not to play for the Kumuls, admitting it was unlikely his mind would change before this year's World Cup.

"I would love to help out and what not, but I just don't feel like it would be right," de Belin said.

"I'd be taking away a spot from someone who is actually from PNG and deserves it.

As of right now it will be the same approach (for the World Cup) unless I can be persuaded."

De Belin was coached by Papua New Guinea legend Adrian Lam in under-20s, but his unwillingness stems from the fact he has never been to the country.

And while the 31-year-old's grandmother was born there, it was to Australian parents and she moved back home to Australia in the first few years of her life.

"That's why I feel like a bit of a fraud in a sense," he said.

"I have never been there or had any connection to the culture or the people.

"My nan was born there. She's not actually Papua New Guinean though, with her heritage ... I've got no PNG blood.

"Maybe if I had been over there a couple of times and got to know a bit of the culture and had a bit more to do with it, but as of right now it just wouldn't be right for me."

Alex Johnston, Justin Olam and Lachlan Lam headline the Kumuls' squad for next week, with six players from the PNG Hunters Queensland Cup side figuring.

De Belin, meanwhile, has not given up hope of representing Australia, after debuting for NSW in 2018 before spending two-and-a-half years out of the game fighting sexual assault charges.

"My No.1 goal is always to play for Australia and hopefully at some point I can do that even though the clock is ticking," de Belin said.

"There is always the temptation there (to play for PNG), everyone has the urge to be playing representative football.

"(But when I was young) I didn't feel comfortable with it and it's still a similar feeling."

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