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Battle of the footy codes: Rugby boss fires back at NRL supremo Peter V’landys in war of words

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Battle of the footy codes: Rugby boss fires back at NRL supremo Peter V’landys in war of words over Wallabies’ stunning megabucks attack on the league’s biggest stars: ‘We struck a chord’

  • Ambitious Rugby Australia officials believe they have stepped into the shoes of NRL
  • Comes after reports of a $10 million five-year offer for Joseph Suaalii
  • RA chairman said that figure was ‘fantastic’ but confirmed they want NRL stars
  • NRL supremo Peter V’Landys stated Suaalii, 19, would be ‘bored’ with rugby

The battle over the footy codes has intensified, with Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan declaring that they had ‘touched a nerve’ with the NRL by targeting the league’s biggest stars.

It comes after reports RA were willing to offer Sydney Rooster young gun Joseph Suaalii a monstrous $10 million deal for five years, with McLennan admitting the 19-year-old is a target.

As the war of words ramped up, NRL chairman Peter V’landys openly mocked the 15-a-side code for their attempted raid, saying that Suaalii would even have time to post on social media during matches because the sport so boring.

“I don’t think Suaalii would go to rugby because he would be bored,” V’landys told News Corp.

Following reports that Rugby Australia was willing to offer Sydney Rooster’s young gun Joseph Suaalii a monstrous $10 million deal for five years, chairman Hamish McLennan said the code has struck ‘a nerve’ with the NRL

NRL chairman Peter V'landys (pictured right) openly mocked the 15-a-side code for their rumored cross-code raid, stating that Suaalii might post on social media during matches because the ball is out of play so often

NRL chairman Peter V’landys (pictured right) openly mocked the 15-a-side code for their rumored cross-code raid, stating that Suaalii might post on social media during matches because the ball is out of play so often

“Right now the ball is 33 minutes in play in rugby union, while in rugby league it is 55 minutes in play.

“Joseph better have something to do for those 22 minutes a game – maybe he should take his cell phone with him to see what’s going on, maybe he could post on social media.”

He added that RA offering that kind of money to Suaalii would be a “short-term sugar hit, but there’s no long-term benefit.”

McLennan laughed off V’landys’ joke and labeled rugby as a ‘thinking game’.

“We’ve clearly struck a nerve,” he said. (Fact is) ‘worldwide and more people are watching rugby.’

He wasn’t done saying that rugby is a ‘real world game’.

“A golden decade is coming, including multiple Olympics, where Joseph can win a gold medal, play a Lions tournament and win a World Cup in his own country,” he said ambitiously.

Rugby Australia chairman McLennan (pictured right) admitted Suaalii, 19, was a target but described the reported $10 million figure as 'fantastic'

Rugby Australia chairman McLennan (pictured right) admitted Suaalii, 19, was a target but described the reported $10 million figure as ‘fantastic’

Sea Eagles superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic would also be on Rugby Australia's hit list

Sea Eagles superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic would also be on Rugby Australia’s hit list

Other NRL stars on RA’s radar include Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Nelson Asofa-Solomana.

Suaalii was a schoolboys rugby star, playing in the King’s School first XV from the age of 14 and was also selected into the NSW and Australian Schoolboys squads.

He was in the books of the Rabbitohs until he joined the Roosters last year.

Wallabies backrower Jed Holloway believes Suaalii would be a sensation in rugby.

“If it’s going to make our team better, I think it could be great,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

‘He is quite a talented person; obviously he kills it in rugby league and he is quite young.

“We have a lot of depth, but if it’s going to make us better and win a World Cup, why not?”

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