ST George Illawarra young gun Kyle Stanley has pledged his allegiance to New Zealand just 12 months after hinting he wanted to play for Australia.
A reluctant Stanley confirmed that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of older brother Chase in representing the Kiwis.
‘‘I said last year that I wanted to play for Australia but things change and I want to play for New Zealand,’’ Kyle said. ‘‘At the end of the day, it was a personal decision.’’
When his eligibility was raised last year, Kyle revealed New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney had visited his home in 2010 to express his desire in Stanley playing for New Zealand.
This time, however, Kyle denied Kearney had swayed his decision.
‘‘I haven’t had a chat with him,’’ Kyle said. ‘‘I’ve spoken to him in the past but he didn’t influence me. No one influenced me.’’
Kyle, 21, was a chance of representing City Origin this year. The brothers are now searching to join rugby league’s elite by playing together at the international level.
Chase, 22, played two Test matches; scoring two tries after a stellar debut season in 2007.
Kyle said the possibility of playing alongside his brother had been a factor in his decision.
He also hoped to join uncle and former All Blacks centre, Joe Stanley, as an international.
‘‘Chase is there and my family are from New Zealand,’’ Kyle said. ‘‘So I chose New Zealand. It is exciting times.’’
Meanwhile, Kyle revealed he was enjoying the shift to the centres, having started the year at fullback. The Hurstville United junior played the opening two games of the season at the back.
‘‘The transition has been good,’’ Kyle said.
‘‘I’m not doing as much running but more tackling. I’ve played most of my first grade career in the centres.’’