There’s been some brilliant cross code stars in the past three decades with names like Sonny Bill Williams, Andy Farrell and Jason Robinson all switching successfully from league to union however very few make the switch from the 15 man code to the 13 man one.
One player who undoubtedly could have made the switch given his sheer physical dominance would have been All Blacks international Jonah Lomu and it’s been revealed that he was incredibly close to making the switch to the NRL at one point.
Lomu is perhaps most famous for his performances at the 1995 World Cup where he was utterly dominant and ran over English players leaving them in his wake as he top scored at the tournament with seven tries.
Aged just 20 he burst onto the scene and immediately became an icon, and the 6 foot five inches giant went on to tally 43 tries for the All Blacks in an illustrious career.
It’s now been revealed that prior to Gold Coast Titans first ever season in 2007 they made contact with Lomu and got incredibly close to signing the powerful winger, who sadly passed away in 2015.
Scott Sattler has told SEN 1170 Sportsday how close the switch was as Lomu came off contract from Cardiff Blues right as Gold Coast were recruiting.
“I went to pick him up from the Brisbane Airport and I’ve never seen so many media (members), there was media from Asian countries and England… there was media on the back of motorbikes trying to get footage of him,” Sattler, who was in charge of recruitment, said.
“His second wife, she was his manager, and she was the toughest negotiator ever dealt with. He was pretty much finished and he was having problems with his kidneys.
“The option to sign him was going to cost the club more than any player in the history of the game, (if you) take Super League out of it.
“I remember her in the meeting saying you’re not signing Jonah Lomu the player, you’re signing the name, you’re signing the profile.”
Sattler reported also that the Titans would have paid a fee of $700,00 but Lomu would be set to earn perks such as percentages of revenue which highlights the incredible status that he held, whilst Dean Ritchie of The Daily Telegraph reported that Lomu was offered a one-year $100,000 contract.
Ultimately he rejected the offer returning to play rugby union in France much to Sattler’s dismay, before retiring in 2010.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t come to fruition. I drove him back to the airport that night and he flew back to New Zealand. Tremendous guy he was, God rest his soul.”