Mulitalo denied State of Origin exemption

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Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo has been declined an exemption by the NRL to play State of Origin, ending his hopes of wearing the Maroons jumper at senior level.

Selected as a late injury replacement for Queensland in the second Origin game last Sunday, Mulitalo was himself replaced when questions surfaced about his eligibility.

The NRL said on Friday it saw no good reason to grant Queensland's request for an exemption - noting that his appearances in Queensland Under 18 and Under 20 teams were based on incorrect declarations.

It said it would not be fair to other players who narrowly missed meeting eligibility critieria if he was granted an exemption.

Mulitalo used his social media channel to voice his disappointment.

"This isn't the way I pictured my time ending in the maroon jersey," he tweeted.

"Learnt many lessons in this journey but most importantly became a better man wearing this jersey. Here's to new opportunities."

Under Origin rules, players must be born in their representative state, have lived there prior to their 13th birthday or have a father who played for the state.

Mulitalo was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia when he was 14 but was selected for Queensland in Under 18 and Under 20 Origin matches.

"In considering a request by the QRL for an exemption to the rules the NRL determined that, other than being wrongly allowed to represent Queensland at age group level, there was little to differentiate Mulitalo's case from any other player who has narrowly missed Origin eligibility criteria," the NRL said in a statement.

"Furthermore, the reason for Mulitalo representing Queensland at junior level was based on incorrect declarations.

"For these reasons, the QRL's request for an exemption to the rules has not been granted."

NRL boss Andrew Abdo said the game had to be fair to all players.

"While I acknowledge Ronaldo was wrongly allowed to represent Queensland at age group level, it doesn't change the fact he was ineligible to play," Abdo said.

"In considering the exemption we have not found good reason that would differentiate Ronaldo from any other player who narrowly misses Origin eligibility.

"It would not be fair to allow Ronaldo to play but deny eligibility to other players who would like to play Origin but narrowly miss the criteria."

The NRL says it will work with the states to develop stronger quality assurance procedures in the declarations made by players regarding their eligibility.

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