Rugby league: Suliasi Vunivalu to make rugby switch with Queensland Reds

Suliasi Vunivalu could wear the Wallabies jersey under Dave Rennie
Suliasi Vunivalu could wear the Wallabies jersey under Dave Rennie Photo credit: AAP

While all eyes were on the playing future of Test winger Josh Addo-Carr, Melbourne Storm have lost their other flyer in Suliasi Vunivalu.

In a major blow to the Storm's backline, Vunivalu will join the Queensland Reds ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby season after signing a two-year deal with Rugby Australia

Addo-Carr was rumoured to be seeking an exit from the Storm to return to Sydney however Melbourne said he will see out the final two years of his NRL contract.

They have already lost NRL premiership centres Will Chambers (rugby) and Curtis Scott (Canberra) in the post-season.

Fijian-born Vunivalu played rugby union at home and at school in New Zealand before switching codes.

Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy said they were unable to compete with the rugby offer.

"It's always disappointing to lose quality players but we understand Suli's decision," Donaghy said in a statement.

"Importantly he has expressed his total commitment to Storm for the next 12 months and we expect he will again play a key role in our 2020 campaign."

Vunivalu said he had always considered going back to rugby union and felt he had to look after his young family.

"I was a rugby union player before switching to league and always thought going back to rugby was an option for my career and I never wanted to play for another NRL club.

"I'd hate to have to go up against Storm and my mates."

RA director of rugby Scott Johnson said the 24-year-old, who will follow in the path of another former Storm winger Marika Koroibete, was a great get.

"Suliasi was a standout schoolboy rugby player, he is an elite finisher with a lot of big-game experience for a young man and will have an immediate impact for the Reds in 2021 and put himself right in the frame for higher honours," Johnson said in a statement.

Meanwhile, halfback Ryley Jacks will look to complete some unfinished business after being offered a one-year deal to return to the Storm.

After two seasons with the Storm in 2016 and 2017, Jacks spent last season with battlers Gold Coast.

In a stressful post-season, which also included his wedding, he looked like he would return to his carpenter days when he was cut by the last-placed Titans.

However, a halfback berth opened up in Melbourne due to Brodie Croft's shift to Brisbane and Jacks moved south again on a train and trial offer.

"It felt weird leaving (back in 2018)," Jacks said on Tuesday.

"I didn't feel like I'd finished here when I was walking out of the building and a year on it doesn't feel too strange to be back.

"I always thought I would be back playing for the Storm - I'm so grateful to have another chance here in Melbourne."

Jacks will be up against Jahrome Hughes and Cooper Johns for the No.7 jersey.

AAP

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