Cheika won't chase NRL stars

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is open to the possibility of adding more league converts to the national fold but he won’t be the one making the first move.

Speaking on Rugby 360, Cheika said he had been in discussions with numerous NRL players about transitioning to rugby , but said he wouldn’t be actively poaching players.

“We don’t want to go chasing players who play rugby league because we’re never going to compete at the end of the day if we really wanted to go there,” he said.

“What we’ll do is when players show an interest in coming to rugby that means they genuinely want to play the game as opposed to ‘Oh, we’ll try and force you to play the game and give you money to convert you’.

“We’ve spoken to a fair few blokes this year from rugby league who have approached us just to gauge interest, not necessarily say, ‘We want to come’ but, ‘What do you think about that?”

Melbourne Storm flyer Marika Koroibete is reportedly the latest NRL star contemplating a code switch, having apparently met with the Rebels in recent weeks.

Melbourne Storm winger Marika Koroibete has reportedly spoken to the Rebels about switching codes. Photo: Getty Images

Koroibete has starred for the Storm since making his switch from the Wests Tigers, scoring 38 tries in his 57 NRL matches and Cheika has high praise for the winger.

“You’d be mad not to be a fan of Koroibete,” he said

“You know if Korobete does come to play rugby he’s going be through one of the best training grounds in Melbourne.

“A great coach, a great training methodology and philosophy and he’ll be a tough player if he comes over.

Cheika’s openness to league additions might be down to the fact that he is a big fan of the 13-man game, from which a handful of past and current Wallabies  have come.

“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say it on the show, but I love rugby league,” he said.

“There’s players out there that are interested in playing rugby. You’ve seen it with Ben Te’o who came across - we were trying to get him to come back and play here - and Sam Burgess who went to play in England.”

Former Rabbitohs star Ben Te'o could face the Wallabies in June. Photo: Getty Images

League converts Eto Nabuli and Reece Robinson are the latest stars to make a Super Rugby impact after impressive debut seasons with the Queensland Reds and Waratahs respectively.

Watch Rugby 360 each Wednesday at 7:30pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS 2.