Rugby Australia’s raid on its rival code has taken another intriguing turn with a bold public play for a top coach.
RA chairman Hamish McLennan on Tuesday declared he would welcome Roosters coach Trent Robinson, as well as representative backrower Angus Crichton if they were prepared to jump ship.
The Tricolours have already lost teenage sensation Joseph Suaalii to the 15-man game, with a contract signed that will net the youngster $1.6 million a year from 2025.
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9News revealed on Monday that Suaalii may exit the Chooks a year early and McLennan says RA can easily afford to accommodate the player in 2024 if it came to pass.
And he says if Suaalii goes, his teammate Crichton may as well follow him out the door and across Driver Avenue in Moore Park.
“Without being prejudicial to Joey’s negotiations, we can easily afford Joey and Angus Crichton as well,” McLennan told 9News.
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“This is how league treat their players. Joseph was the hottest star in league a month ago, now they don’t want him.
“If you’re an aspiring cross-code star remember this is the treatment you could get. I told league not to be punitive, and that’s exactly what they have done.”
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McLennan – who has delighted in trading verbal barbs with Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys since the Suaalii signing – isn’t letting the poaching raid stop at players.
He has his eyes on Robinson, who is in his 11th year as head coach of the Roosters, having led the team to three premierships since his triumphant debut year in 2013.
”I rate Trent, but I wonder how he can coach in an environment like that when there is such a ruthless attitude towards young players,” McLennan said.
“Trent would do well as a rugby coach.”
The Roosters have denied they are planning to release Suaalii at the end of this season.
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