Anthony Mundine called out over false claim, retirement, SAS Australia, NRL news

Anthony Mundine has been called out online after detailing the reason behind why he stepped away from the NRL.

The former St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos star said his decision to step away from the game boiled down to him missing out on selection for Australia.

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Mundine ultimately walked away from rugby league in 2000 to pursue boxing, citing racism behind him missing out on call ups for both state and country.

In 2016, he told Fox Sports that he wasn’t given the appropriate respect for his abilities by selectors at the turn of the century.

During an interview on Channel 7’s SAS Australia he reiterated those bizarre and inaccurate claims once more.

“I debuted in ‘93. I was 18 years old. I was only a skinny kid. And I was carving up but I felt like I wasn’t getting the accolades. If I was a white fella, I would have got …” he said before SAS instructor Ant Middleton interjected: “Oh, you believe it came down to race?”

Mundine replied: “100 per cent … I knew from a young age I wanted to play for Australia, that was my goal. (1999) was probably one of my best years. But at the end of that year they were taking a tour to England. I don’t know if it was the World Cup but they were taking a tour.

“They picked 42 men to go on this tour. I was the best player in the league, no doubt … stats showed that. 100 per cent they showed that. No one close to me in my position.”

Middleton asked: “So you obviously got picked for the team?” Mundine replied: “No. I didn’t get picked for the team. The Australian coach said I didn’t get picked (because of) my off-field characteristics. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I never took drugs in my life, but I’m very outspoken.

“They just wanted to show me that they were in power. So they didn’t pick me … They crushed me. Crushed me. Devastated me. Ripped my heart out, basically.”

In a separate piece-to-camera, Mundine added: “As a black fella, people don’t see what we have to go through in order to just get a look-in.”

Fans watching on however were quick to call Mundine out on his claims as they pointed out the telling inaccuracies in his version of events.

While Mundine was accurate in the fact he wasn’t selected to play for Australia at the end of the 1999 season, he was wrong in stating there was a tour of England, there was no tour of England in 1999 and there also wasn’t a 42-man squad.

Australia hosted a tri-nations tournament against England and New Zealand at the end of 1999, while the Rugby League World Cup took place in England in 2000.

The World Cup came after Mundine had already walked away from the sport.

Fans were also quick to point out that while he was playing some of the best players the sport has seen were playing in the same position, from Andrew Johns to Brad Fittler and Darren Lockyer.

X user The Oracle wrote: “Anthony Mundine IMO was unlucky not be play for Australia BUT can someone PLEASE tell him … there was never a Kangaroo tour in 1999 & NEVER has there been a 42 man squad. I’ve heard this so many times.”

Another added: “His selfishness in the 1999 Grand Final cost St George. That’s what selectors remember. Oh, two blokes called Fittler and Johns. Heard they were pretty handy.

A third wrote: “Mundine was good but not as good as Daley, Walters and Fittler and it wasn’t because of race, that he didn’t get chosen.”

It’s not the first time Mundine has made the claim and with all likelihood it won’t be the last time we hear about it either.

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