After years of seeing the likes of Sam Burgess, Kyle Eastmond, Chris Ashton and Josh Charnley leave for rugby union, rugby league have finally got their own back.
Some huge names have been chased by Rugby Australia ahead of them hosting the 2027 World Cup, with the other code having pursued the likes of Nathan Cleary, Cameron Munster and others after signing Joseph Suaali’i from Sydney Roosters but the Rooster have now got their own back.
The Roosters have secured the services of Wallabies rugby union winger Mark Nawaqanitawase on a two-year deal starting in 2025.
The club announced the signing of the 23-year-old on Thursday and confirmed he will remain in rugby union for 2024 before linking up with the Tricolours.
“We’re delighted to have secured Mark’s services and look forward to welcoming him to our club in 2025,” Roosters head of recruitment Daniel Anderson said.
“In the meantime, we wish him all the best for a successful 2024 in rugby union.”
Sydney-born Nawaqanitawase played rugby league growing up before switching codes and to date has amassed 11 caps for Australia in the 15-man game, making this a huge coup for not just the Roosters but for rugby league in general.
That’s not the only signing news in Australia at the moment. Manly have extended Haumole Olakau’atu on a mega six-year deal which will see the star second-rower remain at the club until the end of 2031.
Already signed for 2024 and 2025, the 25-year-old is now the longest contracted player on the club’s roster, set to be a Sea-Eagle until he turns 33.
Since making his NRL debut for Manly in 2019, the Tonga International has scored 29 tries in 73 first grade games.
“We have seen the growth in Haumole over the last couple of years but, in particular, the last 12 months,’’ Sea Eagles Coach Anthony Seibold said.
“The biggest thing that has impressed me over the past year is that Haumole has given himself to the team in a way that a lot of people are now following him.
“We feel that Haumole’s best years are ahead of him and that he can develop into an elite player who can play at State of Origin level for the NSW Blues.”
With big things happening in terms of recruitment down under it will be interesting to see if this has a domino effect for Super League with a number of teams still yet to fill out their quota spots for 2024.