Suaalii's move could make others follow to rugby: Koula

·2-min read
Brendon Thorne/AAP PHOTOS

Rugby union target Tolutau Koula has warned Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii's impending defection to the 15-man game will make it more attractive for NRL players to jump ship.

Manly flyer Koula has long been seen as an option for Rugby Australia to try to bring across, as part of the ongoing war between the two codes.

The 20-year-old is rumoured to be on Eddie Jones' hit-list after he played both codes growing up before committing to the Sea Eagles' system in his late teens.

Koula is off contract at the end of next year, with Manly already making clear their intent to ward off the threat of rugby and extend his stay at Brookvale.

But regardless of his own future, Koula has no doubt what Sydney Roosters teenager Suaalii can do for the 15-man game when arrives in 2025.

The pair played Australian schoolboys rugby together as recently as 2019, and Koula cannot see any way in which Suaalii won't star in the code.

And asked whether Suaalii's move could influence other players to follow him across, Koula said: "Of course.

"Joey is such a good player. With him going to union, he is going to put bums on seats. Just people wanting to watch people do his thing.

"He is going to kill it. I don't really have any doubts in my mind that he will do real good over there.

"It might even bring rugby league fans across to union to watch. I think it's a good thing."

Koula himself is aware of the reported interest from Rugby Australia, but his management have had no talks with the code.

He is also happy at Manly, with talks starting around the club's desire to keep him long-term.

"I grew up playing both, but I haven't thought too much into it," Koula told AAP.

"I can see why people are attracted to rugby.

"It is obviously good to be wanted. My manager and my family, they are taking really good care of me.

"I like it here at Manly and what we have going on. We will see how things pan out in the next few months or so.

Koula's comments come as he prepares to play his fourth game back from a knee injury against Newcastle for an Origin-affected Manly side on Saturday.

One of the fastest men in rugby league after growing up as a track star, Koula is tryless this year but has become a growing threat running on the Sea Eagles' right edge after debuting last season.

"Playing in the NRL is obviously not easy," Koula said.

"But I feel as if I am a lot more comfortable right now. I have come out of my shell and am feeling a lot more confident than I initially did."