Joseph Manu in bombshell code switch admission ahead of NRL season for Roosters

The New Zealand international is arguably the biggest star on the NRL open market.

Roosters NRL star Joseph Manu has admitted the prospect of making a switch to rugby union intrigues him. Pic: Getty
Roosters NRL star Joseph Manu has admitted the prospect of making a switch to rugby union intrigues him. Pic: Getty

Roosters sensation Joseph Manu has addressed reports linking him with a switch to rugby union after admitting the prospect of representing the All Blacks is a "dream" for most Kiwi players. Manu is contracted to the Roosters until the end of the 2024 season and is arguably the biggest name on the NRL open market, with the 27-year-old free to speak to other clubs about 2025 and onwards.

The Roosters are desperate to hold onto their versatile star, who has already been at the centre of a massive offer from the Dragons, worth around $1.2 million per season over four years. The deal would make him one of the highest-paid players in the NRL but it's not just rival NRL clubs the Roosters need to worry about.

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Reports emerged in December that Manu was contemplating a code switch to join the 15-a-side game, with a Rugby World Cup in 2027 looming as a tantalising prospect. Speaking to Nine News this week, Manu said he was "not too sure" what he will end up doing, but insisted that if remained in rugby league, it would be with the Roosters.

Joseph Manu intrigued by potential rugby switch

However, the New Zealand international and former Golden Boot winner - who has emerged as one of the biggest stars on the Test arena - concedes that a new "challenge" in rugby union could be something that appeals to him. Manu says the allure of representing the All Blacks would also be "pretty cool", in a worrying development for rugby league fans.

"I've been here for a long time now and Roosters is pretty much home for me... if I'm playing rugby league, I'm here at the Roosters," Manu told Nine News. "I'm not too sure what I will end up doing, but rugby is a challenge and it's something different, something new. If I go and play rugby, I will be focused on rugby - not really going and coming back sort of thing.

"Obviously [playing for] the All Blacks would be pretty cool. That's a Kiwi's dream. It's the option to try and challenge myself. I think for any player, that's where they grow as a player and a person."

Seen here, Joseph Manu representing the New Zealand rugby league side against Australia.
Joseph Manu is seen here representing the New Zealand rugby league side against Australia. Pic: Getty

Manu was an instrumental part of the Roosters side that claimed back-to-back NRL premierships in 2018/19 and has established himself as one of the game's best centres. The 27-year-old has also demonstrated his versatility by excelling in the halves or at fullback in the absence of regular No.1 and club captain, James Tedesco.

The explosive Roosters star would offer the 15-a-side game plenty of backline options, much in the same way as Roosters teammate Joseph Suaalii, who agreed a big-money switch to rugby union from 2025. Manu has represented New Zealand in 16 Tests since debuting as a teenager with the Roosters in 2016. He was also part of the Kiwis side that thumped Australia 30-0 in November's inaugural Pacific Cup final.

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