Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Kalyn Ponga may have reassured league fans recently that he is not concerned with a code switch to Rugby Union at this point, but it seems another 23-year-old NRL player is.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Manly Warringah Sea Eagles player Tevita Funa is in talks with Super Rugby side the New South Wales Waratahs about joining their ranks in 2022.
Funa was used sparingly by the Sea Eagles in the regular season, only making four appearances; however, he has made an impact within the club in the past, first as a part of Manly’s 2017 Holden Cup premiership-winning side, then again in 2020 when he was named the club’s Rookie of the Year after scoring five tries in 12 games.
An offer from Rugby Union must be appealing to someone who hasn’t been getting the minutes in the NRL due to no fault of their own, not to mention that Funa would not have to uproot his life as he could remain in Sydney.
When Funa has played this season, he has been able to notch up three tackle-breaks, two line breaks, average 80 running metres per game and make 45 tackles for an efficiency rate of 86.5%.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) September 9, 2021
Manly should be desperate to keep Funa not only due to his talent, but the depth he provides on the edge, especially now that Moses Suli is off to the Dragons in 2022, with Funa, Jorge Taufua and Ben Trbojevic now their only backups with any real NRL experience.
The former Guildford Owl isn’t the only winger linked with a move to Rugby Union either, with former New South Wales State of Origin representative Blake Ferguson possibly headed to the Western Force in 2022 after the club’s Chief Executive Officer spoke publicly about his admiration for the player back in June, with the Daily Telegraph now reporting that Japanese Rugby side NEC Green Rockets are close to securing Ferguson’s services in a “rich” deal.
NEC’s Director of Rugby is none other than former Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika, who undoubtedly would have seen the 31-year-old play in the NRL.
Ferguson is currently without a club in 2022 after his current club the Parramatta Eels confirmed that they would not be re-signing him beyond this season.