Tuqiri ponders return to rugby league - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri ponders return to rugby league

By Adrian Warren 13/09/2006 07:44:59 PM Comments (2)

Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri is keen to follow Mat Rogers back to rugby league, the flyer declaring he'd like to play the 13-man game again.

Rogers on Wednesday confirmed a move to the nascent Gold Coast Titans after the 2007 Rugby World Cup and former Brisbane Bronco Tuqiri was quick to make it known rugby league was also on his mind.

"I'm not going to say, 'no I wouldn't like to play it again'," Tuqiri told Channel Nine.

"League has always been in my blood and it was the first game I played so there'll always be a passion there ... the answer is probably `yes, I would like to play it again'."

While the Australian Rugby Union is prepared to wait until next year to lock in the 26-year-old beyond 2007, NSW Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie wants contract negotiations with Tuqiri accelerated.

"I don't think there's any debate from our end about wanting him (Tuqiri) to stay around, I'm not quite sure what the ARU's position is or what's happened there," McKenzie said.

"We had a couple of discussions with Lote, so I'm interested in moving sooner rather than later, but I'm only one of the parties involved.

"My preference is to be pro-active in contracting. When you feel like you know where you want to go, you get on with it.

"I think the longer it takes you the more options come into play and the more it ends up costing you."

With a host of big names including George Gregan and Stephen Larkham set to retire or move overseas after the World Cup in France, the ARU will be flush with funds, if not marquee players.

But the ARU's high performance unit manager Pat Wilson said while Tuqiri's re-signing was "absolutely" a priority, negotiations were unlikely to commence until next year.

"Our standard protocol is to talk during the final year of the contract and we'll do that, that will be the early part of 2007," he said.

NRL boss David Gallop made it clear on Wednesday his organisation wasn't looking at allowing a salary cap exemption or setting up a fighting fund to bring Tuqiri back to the 13-a-side code.

"There's no plan in that regard but I think footballers are looking at the NRL and our representative program and thinking that it's the ultimate testing ground and that if you can cut it in league you're certainly cutting it in the toughest environment," Gallop said.

"If Lote wants to talk to a club or vice versa, we'd be very comfortable with that."

McKenzie said NSW had already decided to try and re-sign Rogers and hadn't had any inkling of the 30-year-old utility back's decision to return to league.

He said he was disappointed at the news but was happy Rogers had been decisive.

"In a way, I wish there were a lot more people that were as decisive in life, it's certainly a lot easier to deal with people that know what they want to do," McKenzie said.

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2 Comments about this article

  • Tuqiri makes more sense to the ARU to hold - 26 compared to Rogers who would be 31 when his contract was up.

    Great work to Rogers though for not dragging it out in the press.
    Posted by James Ashton Thu Sep 14, 2006 04:21pm AEST
  • That's Great!
    Posted by Yangwen (devin) Deng Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:48am AEST

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