Carrot: Anthony Milford was pressured into playing for Queensland's under-20s rather than Samoa as he was told it would improve his chances of playing state of origin. Photo: Getty Images
Criticism of the Pacific Test stung but Samoan winger Daniel Vidot reckoned witnessing a ''hurt'' Anthony Milford choose Queensland over his country was the most painful.
Vidot says eligibility rules should be changed to allow players to contest state of origin and represent their second-tier nation in a bid to avoid a repeat of Milford's unfortunate situation. Vidot said he had been disappointed with vocal critics who claimed ''no one cared'' about Saturday night's Pacific Test, in which Samoa downed Fiji in Penrith to book a Four Nations berth.
But he was more concerned by the weekend's farcical scenes that involved Milford. The Canberra playmaker wanted to run out for Samoa but opted to play for the Queensland under-20s in the Pacific Test curtain-raiser after being told by Maroons coach Mal Meninga he was under state-of-origin consideration.
''That's something Milly decided to do and we have nothing against him but it is hard to be told you can't play for your country,'' said Vidot, who was denied playing a 2010 Test for Samoa to remain eligible for Queensland.
''I know it hurt Milly. He definitely wanted to play. That's why they have to get this thing right.''
Under international eligibility rules, second-tier nation players can only change their allegiance once every four-year World Cup cycle. If Milford played origin this year and wanted to feature in the end-of-year Four Nations for Samoa, he would need to alter his country of election from Australia to the Pacific Island nation and would not be able to change it again for two years.
''Even if you played for Queensland and didn't make the Australian squad at the end of the year, you should be able to play for your second-tier country,'' Vidot said. ''That's got to be the way for the less-dominant nations, the ones who don't have the money to buy players.
''When we are sitting in [Samoa] camp, we are like 'oh, we are missing so and so' – it puts a big hole in the team. It's tough enough, mate, without them taking our players.''
Vidot didn't blame second-tier nation players making themselves available for origin for the financial gain alone. Origin players receive $20,000 a game.
''If you are getting $60,000 in your face for origin [three-game series] and $1000 for Samoa – who are you going to pick?" Vidot said.
Samoan officials claimed Milford was among 13 players pressured into not playing the Pacific Test. It made criticism of the Pacific Test for its lack of NRL talent even harder to take for Vidot.
''It was disappointing. There were a few comments that a lot of us didn't agree with,'' he said. ''But it [Four Nations berth] is a big step for us.''