Great Britain legend reveals he almost joined Sydney Roosters in a mega swap deal with international team-mate

In the mid noughties Stuart Fielden was one of the most feared forwards in rugby league.

He was the enforcer at the forefront of the classy Bradford team of that era, helping the Bulls become the dominant force in the British game.

In 2006, as Bradford’s star-studded team started to separate, Fielden left to join Wigan Warriors for a world record transfer fee of £450,000.

However, things could have been very different had another major deal involving Fielden materialised a year prior to that.

Speaking to Serious About Rugby League, Fielden spoke of the proposed transfer that would have seen him go to the NRL and Great Britain team-mate Adrian Morley come the other way.

“When I was at Bradford, they were talking about swapping me for Adrian Morley, so I could go over to the Sydney Roosters, and he could come over here.

“The pound was way stronger than the dollar back then though, and the salary cap in Australia at that time was only $4 million.

“To go over to the NRL back then, you weren’t earning any more than you would do in Super League and there wasn’t much difference in quality between the two competitions.

“In my peak in 2005 at Bradford the money wasn’t really much different, and it would have meant a big change for my family so it never happened.”

This wasn’t the only time Fielden had the chance to go to the NRL though, explaining that he would have made the move down under years later if it wasn’t for injury.

“I nearly went to the NRL a few times,” he added. “I was on my over in 2011. I got permission from Wigan to go but then I ruptured my pec in training.

“The money in the NRL was a lot bigger back then, I would have been about 30 at the time but injuries prevented me going over.

“I had injured my knee a year earlier in 2010 too in training so I wasn’t in the condition I had been. Hindsight is a wonderful thing because I was on my way over there.”

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