Roosters star Luke Keary has put his hand up to play for Ireland in this year’s World Cup — throwing his support behind a raft of NRL stars opting to represent their heritage.
Reports surfaced that Maroons gun Josh Papalii will ply his trade for Samoa, joining Jarome Luai and Brian To’o, while Felise Kaufusi, Siosifa Talakai, Daniel Tupou and Kotoni Staggs are set to represent Tonga.
While Keary may not have been in Meninga’s Kangaroos plans, the 30-year-old has expressed his desire to represent Ireland after being ruled out of the 2017 World Cup with a hip injury.
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“I stuck my hand up to play for Ireland in 2017,” Keary said to the SMH.
“It didn’t eventuate, I had a few [injuries] at the back end of the year. We’ll just see how the next few weeks go but I’ve told the [Irish officials] that I need to tell.
“I’ve always had a connection there since I was a kid. Dad’s family is still over there. I haven’t been over there but you just feel proud whenever he talked about it. It makes me feel good thinking about it.”
Keyary welcomed players who wanted to represent their heritage, explaining “it’s great for our game”.
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“It’s going to be a great World Cup with so many great players putting their hands up for their nations of birth or their heritage. I think it’s great for our game,” he said.
Ireland have been drawn in group C, alongside Jamaica, Lebanon and one of the competition’s heavyweights — New Zealand.
The Kiwis boast one of Keary’s Roosters teammates, who plays at fullback for his national team, Joseph Manu.
Meanwhile, young gun Joseph Sualii will be attending the World Cup — whether it be for the Kangaroos or Samoa.
The 19-year-old could be set for a potential starting birth with Samoa should he choose to go down that path, but the young gun outlined his preference.
“I honestly haven’t thought about it too much but I want to be there playing at the World Cup,” Sualii said.
“I’m trying to make that Australian team and if I’m lucky enough I’ll make that Samoan team as well.
“If I get picked for either of them it would be an honor. If I’m playing at the World Cup I’ll be happy.”
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