Roosters star Victor Radley has revealed he decided to represent England over New South Wales and Australia based on a “gut feeling”.
Radley will play for England at this year’s Rugby League World Cup, turning his back on the green and gold and sky blue jersey.
The 24-year-old caught up with coach Shaun Wane as RFL officials confirmed that Radley has pledged his allegiance with England.
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It means Radley has made himself ineligible to represent Australia and New South Wales, since players cannot switch between tier one nations (Australia, England, New Zealand).
The Roosters forward qualifies for England through his father, Nigel, who hails from Sheffield.
“It was a really big decision. It took me about eight weeks, just to make sure I could stew on it and sit on it and make sure that I made the right decision. I spoke to Shaun last week and that was the last time when I finalized it,” Radley said on Triple M.
“I’m pretty comfortable with my decision, everyone has got their own opinion, all my mates and family but I did it for me.
“I spoke to Freddy (Brad Fittler), I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I was lucky enough to be in the (Blues) squad for Game II and thought just out of respect I’d speak to Freddy and he was really honest and gave me some great advice.
“He was really honest with me and told me at the end it was my decision and he’ll support me, it was good.
“I wanted to wait until Origin was over to make my decision because I was waiting to see if something there ticked, I don’t know what it was, it was just such a gut feeling and a feeling in my chest that made me go for it.
“I couldn’t look away from it and my head was telling me a lot of other things and people were telling me other things but that feeling in my chest and gut, I just had to go with it.”
Radley spoke to reporters on Saturday and said representing England was something he’d always wanted to achieve.
“I’ve always wanted to play for England for my old man,” he said.
“Everybody wants to do the right thing by their dad, don’t they?
“Dad’s proud of where he’s from, proud of his family, proud of supporting Sheffield Wednesday.
“This was a gut feeling that it’s what I want to do – and with the World Cup coming up in England at the end of this year, it was now or never.
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“If I ended up sitting there watching the World Cup and knowing I could have been playing for England – that wouldn’t have felt good.”
Wane has monitored English eligible players in the NRL closely, especially during his trip to Australia this year.
“I’ve always said that I’m open to selecting players who want to represent their English heritage – but they have to be outstanding in their position, and 100% committed,” Wane said.
“I rate Victor Radley very highly as a player, and he’s a great addition to the options we have in a position where we have some really strong contenders.
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“We need quality in depth in every position, and Victor is a big addition to that.
“He now joins the group we already have playing in the NRL who will be part of our preparations for the World Cup.
“We’re in regular touch, sharing a lot of information with them, to make sure they’re all ready to be part of our squad if they’re selected.”
While Radley has defected his allegiance to England, it has not always been his top priority, having represented the Junior Kangaroos against France.
Moreover when asked if he would play for England in 2019, he admitted it wasn’t something that was on his radar.
“I would say no because I want to play Origin,” Radley told Bryan Fletcher on Fox League’s Fletch and Hindy.
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