The Sydney Roosters are looking for revenge after Rugby Australia signed Joseph Suaalii as part of a bombshell code switch in March.
In pursuit of an eye for an eye, Roosters coach Trent Robinson and chairman Nick Politis will meet with rising Wallabies star Mark Nawaqanitawase next week to discuss a potential move to the NRL in 2025.
With Suaalii to depart for rugby when his contract expires at the end of 2024, Nawaqanitawase has been flagged as a potential replacement in the Roosters’ back line.
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Nawaqanitawase’s form was one of the few positives from Australia’s disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign under the since departed Eddie Jones.
The proposal from the Rooster comes after Rugby Australia also tried to poach second-rower Angus Crichton on a two-year deal worth $1.6 million just days after the Wallabies bowed out of the World Cup.
Nawaqanitawase, 23, played rugby league as a junior for both the Concord Burwood Wolves and Leichhardt Wanderers until the age of 14.
His father, Sevuloni, also played rugby league – moving from Fiji to Sydney in 1991 to play for Balmain.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh was unaware of the winger’s meeting with the Roosters but said the 15-man game was very keen to retain him.
“A player like Mark is one of the key personnel to the future of the game in Australia,” he said on Friday.
“There is the British and Irish Lions tour in 2025 and the home World Cup in 2027 and that’s an exciting runway of events coming up. It’s an amazing opportunity for all players to be involved in such historical sporting events in Australia
“Mark is in the early days of his rugby career in Australia, and it’s important for us to give him the right direction and the best possible opportunity to succeed in the environment we provide. That’s our responsibility and we are working hard on that right now.”
Nawaqanitawase is contracted to the NSW Waratahs until the end of 2024, the same place where Suaalii is poised to play Super Rugby.