Kennedy on ARL collision course

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Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan
AN adamant ARL last night stressed players could not "pick and choose" when they play representative matches - a stance which sets up a potential collision with Manly forward Ben Kennedy.

At Kennedy's request, ARL board members yesterday voted to reverse his exemption from representative football.

But ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said the reversal meant Kennedy would now be available to play all representative matches this season - including State of Origin.

Sources claim Kennedy only wants to play the one-off Test against New Zealand on May 5 - and not State of Origin.

A Manly press release issued yesterday morning claimed Kennedy had "made himself available for selection for the Anzac Test match in Brisbane." It made no mention of Origin football.

Kennedy, who also announced yesterday he would retire at the end of this season, might well play the one-off Test and then quit rep football again. But the ARL would not be happy.

Carr would not comment on whether Kennedy would be overlooked for Australia should he be unavailable for NSW.

"The board can only consider what is put in front of it and Ben's application was to withdraw his application for an exemption," Carr said.

"As far as we are concerned, that means he is available for all representative football in 2006.

"We can't have a situation where players pick and choose which representative games they play.

"He will be considered for all rep matches.

"Ideally every player in the game should be available to represent their state and country, but we do take into account the long service certain players have given and will continue to treat each application for exemption on its merits."

Kennedy was asked to come out of rep retirement by Kangaroo representatives.

His manager, Mick Newton, said Kennedy might play Origin - but it was unlikely given he is 32 and that Manly want their captain available through the season.

"He hasn't closed the door on it," Newton said.

In the Sea Eagles' press release yesterday, Kennedy talks of the Test match - but not Origin.

"Playing for my country remains close to my heart and I have made myself available to play if chosen," Kennedy said.

Carr also revealed Andrew Johns was yet to formally request a rep football exemption.

Johns has publicly stated he will play the Test but not for NSW.

"Players say things in the media from time to time but the ARL has not heard from Joey," said Carr.

"As far as we are concerned he is available (for Origin)."

The Daily Telegraph


UFO Hunter
It certainly gives the selectors a chance to blood the younger gen in the Maroon or Blue before throwing them into the test side.

I don't see a problem with the older players standing down from SOO because lets be honest, it a lot tougher and more physical than anything the kiwis can dish up these days. Not to mention 3 of them over 9 weeks as well as club games.

The ARL need to look at the cases individually before drawing such a broad play one play all rule.

Joey's falling appart. If he wants to play for his country one last time, so who the **** cares? But it seems stupid to let him get smashed around in Origin just to prove a point. Players who have served the game as well as BK and Johns should be allowed to chose.

I love to play rep footie, but my body can't handle all those games. Which one will I play?

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