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Thread: Reds, Rugby Australia sign Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu on two-year deal

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Reds, Rugby Australia sign Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu on two-year deal

    Yesterday at 5:30 PM Super Rugby
    by Iain Payten


    Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu has been signed by Queensland and Rugby Australia in a code-swap coup that could re-unite the flyer with former teammate Marika Koroibete in the Wallabies in 2021.

    The 24-year-old, who was rated by Josh Addo-Carr as "the best winger in the NRL" earlier this year, has signed a two-year contract with the Reds and Rugby Australia in a deal that starts in 2021.

    Media reports have previously speculated the Storm may release Vunivalu in 2020 to free up salary cap space but the Storm issued a release on Tuesday saying he would see out the remainder of his contract.

    The 100kg Fijian wing will be returning to rugby after a six-year stint in rugby league, where he starred for the Melbourne Storm, topped the competitionís try-scoring tally in 2016 and 2017 and won an NRL Premiership in 2017.

    Vunivalu played rugby union prior to his league switch, however, having moved to New Zealand from Fiji when he was 16 to play for Aucklandís Kentigern College. The speedster also had a stint in the Auckland academy before moving to Melbourne to play for the Storm under 20s.

    Vunivalu has a total of 72 tries in 94 appearances at the club and played in the last three NRL Grand Finals, including the 2016 decider with Koroibete.

    Vunivalu will also be eligible to play for the Wallabies in 2021.

    Having lived in Australia since 2014, the winger will qualify even under the new five-year residency rule of World Rugby that comes into effect at the end of 2020.

    ďAs a group we look forward to welcoming Suliasi Vunivalu back to rugby and to Queensland in 2021,Ē Reds coach Brad Thorn said in a release.

    ďSuliasi grew up playing Rugby in New Zealand before becoming one of the NRLís most exciting players.

    ďHeís an impressive talent and has an awesome ability to find the try-line. He brings good experience too with almost 100 NRL games for Melbourne and 12 rugby league Tests for Fiji. Suliasi will be a great addition to our program.

    Rugby Australia Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson said in a release: ďThis is a very good signing for Australian Rugby and the Reds.

    ďSuliasi was a standout schoolboy Rugby player, he is an elite finisher with a lot of big game experience for a young man and will have an immediate impact for the Reds in 2021 and put himself right in the frame for higher honours.ďHe is one player we have been looking at very closely this year with the skillset we are looking for in the outside backs. He has been working in a great environment at the Storm and has chosen a future in Rugby, so it is a great result for the game.Ē

    Vunivalu told the Melbourne Storm website he didn't want to play for another NRL club, and that rugby had always been an option for him to return to.

    "The Storm has been wonderful to me, and Iím continuing to make great memories here," he said.

    "However, the offer from rugby union was too good for me to refuse, especially considering I have a young family who I want to do the best for.

    "I was a rugby union player before switching to league and always thought going back to rugby was an option for my career and I never wanted to play for another NRL club.

    "Iíd hate to have to go up against Storm and my mates.

    "Now this decision is public, Iím concentrating 100% on my final year in Melbourne and looking forward to doing the best I can for the boys, the coaches and all our members and fans.

    "I wonít be making any further comments on rugby until the NRL season is done."

    Suliasi Vunivalu
    Position: Wing
    Height: 192cm
    Weight: 99kg
    Born: 27/11/1995
    Place of birth: Suva, Fiji
    School: St Kentigern College, Auckland (NZ)
    Representative Honours (Rugby League): Melbourne Storm (2016-2019), Fiji Bati (2017-2019)

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2019/1...liasi-vunivalu

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Good signing, but I would have thought getting a competition and broadcaster sorted before signing players would be a better way to start

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    RA must be flush with funds still, apparently deal is for $1.8m over the two seasons and Melbourne storm claim they could not match it.

    Report on news.com.au:

    Rugby Australia reportedly blew the Storm out of the water with a contract offer for Suliasi Vunivalu that NRL wingers can only dream of. News.com.au

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    Player Chopper1's Avatar
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    Good luck to him, looking forward to seeing him playing for the Wallabies...

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    And the review of Rugby Australia high performance continues to have nothing they can recommend!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    Good signing, but I would have thought getting a competition and broadcaster sorted before signing players would be a better way to start
    If RA can't do two things at once they're in a bigger pile of shit than anyone thought.

    Then again they often prove they can't even do one thing at time.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    They have just settled with Folau for an undisclosed sum, with both parties agreeing that neither of them meant to cause anyone any harm, and offering apologies accordingly.

    https://www.news.com.au/sport/rugby/...45dc3ed718e383

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzmania View Post
    RA must be flush with funds still, apparently deal is for $1.8m over the two seasons and Melbourne storm claim they could not match it.

    Report on news.com.au:

    Rugby Australia reportedly blew the Storm out of the water with a contract offer for Suliasi Vunivalu that NRL wingers can only dream of. News.com.au

    People wonder why they canít afford to keep players like Rory Arnold who are far more important to the Wallabies then finding another winger. With Genia, Foley, Kerevi, Phipps, Kepu, Coleman, etc off the books their player retention rate is woeful. Kuridrani has only been signing one season deals.

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    They canít retain players and canít bring young talent on . The system is screwed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    People wonder why they can’t afford to keep players like Rory Arnold who are far more important to the Wallabies then finding another winger. With Genia, Foley, Kerevi, Phipps, Kepu, Coleman, etc off the books their player retention rate is woeful. Kuridrani has only been signing one season deals.
    RA don't learn. You can have the best backline in the world but if you don't have a strong forward pack that can get the ball for them they are pretty much useless.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Even if you have a strong forward pack who can win the ball at will, money spent on a winger is wasted if your 10, 12 & 13 are incapable or unwilling to pass the ball

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Even if you have a strong forward pack who can win the ball at will, money spent on a winger is wasted if your 10, 12 & 13 are incapable or unwilling to pass the ball
    Now there are a bunch of 10 and 12s early on in their careers along with a 13 that was underplayed by the previous coach.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    Now there are a bunch of 10 and 12s early on in their careers along with a 13 that was underplayed by the previous coach.
    All of whom were virtually ignored by the three man selection panel, so how much difference will a new coach effectively have on selection?

    I am one of many who believe that the problems are due to more than just the poor coaching. I think they start at the very beginning of the game in under 6s and work their way through the whole "high performance" unit to Wallaby selection. Players are not taught, nor are they selected, at any level, based upon how they play, it's all about other factors, Politics, media presence, what school they went to, who supports them as a player etc.

    Otherwise, Ned Hannigan would never have been selected as a NSW age rep. let alone ride the gravy train and powerful benefactors to a Wallabies gig where he spectacularly underperformed for multiple seasons in the hope that he'd make the grade.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Well said GIGS!

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    I wonder if RA even know that the U20 s very nearly won their World Cup hammering New Zealand in the process . How about some support/investment for those players....

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