Joey Manu reportedly set to leave Roosters for rugby union in shock code switch

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Sydney Roosters star Joey Manu is reportedly set to leave the club at the end of this year’s NRL season and switch codes to rugby union.

According to News Corp and the SMH, it’s increasingly likely Manu will make the jump from league to union when his contract with the Roosters runs out at the end of this season.

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While a deal hasn’t been done yet, the 27-year-old is said to be weighing up offers from teams in Japan and France and is strongly considering the move.

A gun back who can play at winger, five-eighth, centre or fullback — Manu played in the Roosters’ two most recent premierships in 2018 and 2019.

He was awarded the Golden Boot for the best rugby league international player of the year in 2022.

The Roosters can reportedly only offer Manu around $800,000 per season, while French clubs can offer as much as $1.1 million per year in Europe.

Roosters captain and fullback James Tedesco is contracted until the end of the 2025.

Meanwhile, the Tricolours have re-signed three-time premiership player Luke Keary for another year, extending his contract until the end of 2025.

Manu’s departure would be a huge blow for the Roosters on the heels of youngster Joseph Suaalii leaving to join the NSW Waratahs from October 2024.

Suaalii will effectively trade places with Waratahs and Wallabies back Mark Nawaqanitawase, 23, who will join the Roosters on a two-year deal from 2025.

If he does leave, Manu would follow in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Semi Radradra as NRL stars who made the switch from rugby league to union.

A code switch would also allow the New Zealander to play for the All Blacks, while Manu has said going to union wouldn’t be a short term move.

“It’s an option, I think rugby is a challenge,” Manu told the SMH.

“If I go to play rugby, I’m focused on rugby, not on coming back.

“You could probably go there and come back, but the focus isn’t really going there to just play for a few months and come back. It’s not really that. I grew up playing rugby but it’s really just a case of looking at all options and that was one that was tossed up.

“I’ve been at the Roosters for 10 years now. It’s been a long time and I love the place. That makes it very hard to leave but we’ll see what happens.”

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