Wallabies: Eddie Jones facing player defection over rugby league obsession
Australia head coach Eddie Jones could face losing more stars to overseas clubs should he continue to court those from the 13-a-side code, according to one of the country’s top player agents.
Jones has long been an admirer of rugby league and is already scouring the NRL for individuals that could benefit the Wallabies.
Rugby Australia have continually sought to tap into that market. During the 63-year-old’s first stint in charge, the back three for the World Cup final was made up of ex-NRL players Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri.
Eddie’s NRL targets
After returning to the hotseat in January, Jones reportedly made Joseph Suaalii his primary target before the teenager extended his contract with the Sydney Roosters last week.
Despite that setback, he has turned his attentions to Cameron Murray, who plays in the second-row for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
And as a result of the rumours circulating around the media over RA’s apparent infatuation with rugby league players, it has upset agent David Rawlings and some of his clients.
“The players in general are sick of hearing about it,” Rawlings told the Herald Sun.
“A lot of the boys are thinking, ‘if they want NRL players, we’ll have to look elsewhere’. It’s become a debacle.
“They’ve just lost Pete Samu to Bordeaux, who’s been in the rugby system for a long time.”
As well as Samu, Australia have seen key players Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete and Quade Cooper move overseas.
There are also those on the fringes of the Wallabies’ first team, such as Scott Sio, Tom Banks and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who have departed.
Tom Wright’s future
Tom Wright, whose company Rawlings represents, is another player that could leave following the Rugby World Cup.
The back three player, who ironically moved to union from league four years ago, has yet to agree a new contract to remain in Australia.
“We’re sitting here waiting to get a deal done after the World Cup,” Rawlings added.
“This is the current Wallaby full-back yet they’re talking about all the NRL players and million-dollar offers.
“What about looking after your own? Loyalty works both ways. Look at the sacrifices the players have made in rugby.
“They all took a 50 per cent pay cut during COVID and didn’t get it paid back as the League guys did.”
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