Suaalii and three other players on Rugby Australia’s poach list

19 Jan 23, 6:41PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Getty Images

Former England Rugby Union coach Eddie Jones was rumoured to be exploring a move to Rugby League but has recently signed a multi-million dollar deal with Rugby Australia.

However, his association with players in our game may not be over yet as the 62-year-old has revealed his three priorities in his new role as head coach of the Wallabies, two of which include poaching players from Rugby League.

“We always want to develop players in rugby first. That’s the No. 1 priority,” Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“No.2 is to get back players who were lost initially from rugby to rugby league due to the financial inducements that league are able to give the players.

“We want to get players back who are lost.

“Thirdly, at the right time, is there an opportunity to secure some talent we don’t have in rugby from league?

“I think there is a strategic plan that needs to be put in place but the first thing is to retain the talent we do have.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to win.

“That’s what people want to see.

“The Australian cricket team is popular when they win.

“When they don’t, they’re not too popular.”

Four players in particular are believed to be at the top of Rugby Australia’s poaching list according to The Daily Telegraph.

Melbourne Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles winger Tolu Koula and Parramatta Eels centre Will Penisini have all gained interest from Rugby Australia but their number one priority is Joseph Suaalii.

The 19-year-old played Rugby Union before joining the South Sydney Rabbitohs junior ranks and eventually signing for their arch rivals the Sydney Roosters on a mega deal.

Suaalii had a breakout season in 2022 as he was named the Dally M Winger of the Year and made his representative debut for Samoa and eventually played for his nation in an historic Rugby League World Cup Final.

If Suaalii was to switch codes it would likely be due to not being able to secure the fullback position at the Roosters in the near future as club captain James Tedesco is still contracted to the tricolours until the end of 2024.

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