Latest up date in today's SMH:
Parramatta Eels star Joseph Paulo's role as US Tomahawks captain under threat as AMNRL bows out
The Rugby League International Federation has been asked to help ensure Parramatta star Joseph Paulo's position as USA Tomahawks captain does not come under threat and other NRL-based players are not excluded after the American National Rugby League decided to cede control of the game to the rival USA Rugby League.
The decision was made in a bid to end the civil war over the game in the US, which had resulted in the Tomahawks being the only team to make the quarter-finals at last year's World Cup not guaranteed entry to the 2017 tournament in Australia and New Zealand due to the split between the rival bodies.
The performance of the Tomahawks inspired The Wiggles to record the internet hit USA Tomahawks Shock The World, which called for "President Obama ... to carve the face of Joseph Paulo on Mt Rushmore".
Stars in stripes: Joseph Paulo in action for the US during the Rugby League World Cup last year. Photo: Getty Images
But in a letter to RLIF chairman Nigel Wood, AMNRL chairman Robert Balachandran said his organisation had missed out on the opportunity to capitalise on the success of the Paulo-led Tomahawks at the World Cup as sponsors would not commit without a guarantee the team would feature on television coverage of the tournament.
The AMNRL has been losing ground domestically since several clubs broke away in 2011 to form the rebel USARL competition and Balachandran said his organisation – founded 18 years ago by former St George halfback David Niu – felt the move was the only way for the game to grow domestically and on the international stage.
Balachandran said he hoped the USARL would continue the development work of the AMNRL, which included a Test in Hawaii last month against Samoa and other matches featuring NSW Country and Hawaii.
He also asked for the RLIF to ensure Paulo remained as captain of the Tomahawks, and players such as Eels teammate Bureta Faraimo, Wests Tigers hooker Joel Luani, Newcastle forward Clint Newton and Wigan second-rower Eddy Pettybourne are considered for selection following criticism by USARL officials of the selection of heritage players in the World Cup squad.
The AMNRL also wants former Warriors, Panthers and Raiders coach Matthew Elliott to retain his position as head coach.
Other requests were for the annual Test against Samoa in Hawaii to continue, with the match tentatively set down for June 20 next year, and the remaining six AMNRL clubs to be accepted into the USARL competition.
"We started the game of rugby league in the USA as we loved the game and its cultural values and hoped other Americans would embrace it and it would grow to become a major sport," Balachandran said. "We are proud of all we have achieved from the day David Niu grabbed some mates and started to pass a ball around to now being a top-10 ranked nation.
"We don’t want to see the game held back as it is now because of the differences of the two groups. We want to see the game grow domestically and for the USA Tomahawks to remain a force on the world stage. We don't want to see petty jealousy impact on what we have achieved."
Balachandran said he hoped the pioneering work of Niu would one day be officially recognised by the RLIF.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.a...l#ixzz3ARMnH519
The USARL can choose who they want to be captain and team members .. ...