They're looking at bringing over another high profile leaguie with all the cash they've saved from Dell and Rogers. Word is it could be Inglis.i'm hoping the "league experiment" is over. not to say tiquiri and rodgers aren't good players, i just hope they focus on developing youth.
it's much like business, sometimes its better to upskill your juniors than to poach talent from other companies. maybe wallabies should just outsource to india
Tuqiri to follow Rogers back to league
14 September 2006
By GREG PRICHARD
Sydney Morning Herald
Publicity surrounding the decision by Mat Rogers to return to rugby league after next year has established that fellow league star turned rugby union convert Lote Tuqiri is serious about the possibility of going back to the 13-a-side code as well.
Michael Searle, the managing director of the Gold Coast club that has signed Rogers, last night told the Herald his club's negotiations with Tuqiri had ceased only because the Wallabies star did not want to commit to any particular league club this early.
"We had been talking to Lote at the same time as we had been talking to Mat," Searle said. "Lote is certainly interested in coming back to league. I've got no doubt the circumstances will be right for him after next year.
"But we knew we only had a spot open for one more marquee player and we wanted to arrange something sooner rather than later. Lote wanted to give it another six to 12 months before he confirmed anything, and that was too difficult for us."
Tuqiri, who, like Rogers, is contracted to the Australian Rugby Union until the end of next year and is looking forward to playing in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, last night told Channel Nine news a return to league was a genuine option for him after that.
"I'm not going to say, 'No, I wouldn't like to play it again'," Tuqiri said. "League is always going to be in my blood. It's the first game I played. There will always be a passion there. So, probably, yes, I would like to play it again."
Tuqiri made his name as a league player at Brisbane, where he was coached by Wayne Bennett. Speculation is intense that Bennett will finally break ties with the Broncos at the end of this season and accept an offer to coach the Sydney Roosters from next season.
If that happens, and Tuqiri then goes on the league market, speculation will also be intense that the pair will link up again at the Sydney glamour club.
Rogers was yesterday confirmed as having signed for Gold Coast after the news leaked out on Tuesday night. The contract is for two years, with an option for a third. It has been reported that the deal is worth $AU300,000 per season but the Herald understands it may be worth as much as $AU350,000 annually.
Searle described the signing as a massive coup for the club and said Rogers had made no demands about what position he would like to play.
"Mat didn't say he wanted a particular position," Searle said. "He just wants to get his hands on the ball as often as possible. We're looking at him as a centre, fullback or five-eighth."
Searle said he wasn't concerned that Rogers would be 32 by the time he began playing for the Titans or that he had something of a reputation for getting injured.
"Mat is an athlete," Searle said. "Age doesn't matter with a player like him. As far as the injury talk goes, he's been unfairly labelled, as happens sometimes to players who have just had a bit of bad luck. Scott Prince got labelled as injury-prone after he broke his leg twice at Brisbane but he's done very well since."
Searle said the seed for Rogers possibly joining the Gold Coast had been sown during a chance meeting between the two in Sydney five months ago. He said negotiations had intensified over the last six weeks.
NRL chief executive David Gallop was kept in the loop on negotiations by Searle but Gallop made it clear last night the Titans were not afforded any sort of exemption to enable them to fit Rogers under the salary cap.
Gallop said the return of Rogers was a great sign for league and that league fans should be delighted by it. He said he would love to see Tuqiri back, as well.
Rogers told Nine News he hadn't considered going back to his original club, Cronulla, because it would have been too hard after his father - former Sharks chief executive Steve Rogers - died earlier this year.
"It's still hard every day," Rogers said of living in Cronulla. "I walk around Cronulla and everyone wants to talk about my dad. It burns on the inside every time someone talks about it."
The Gold Coast as a place appealed to Rogers as a lifestyle change for him and his young family and he felt he had unfinished business in league.
Cronulla chief executive Greg Pierce said yesterday the Sharks would have liked to have had the opportunity to talk to Rogers about possibly linking up again but that they were happy for him.
"Mat always wanted to go back to the Gold Coast to live eventually," Pierce said. "It'll be good to see him back in the game and we wish him all the very best."
Why would he not be allowed?
Poor lil Mat Rogers - he lost the world cup for Australia in '03 and wants one more crack at it before skulking back to league. I don't think that he is going to be too much of a loss for Australia.
Although it will be interesting to see if the Australia Rugby Union continues on with their policy of recruiting league players at the expense of developing their own talent.
It will also be interesting to see if Rogers gets selected for the '07 world cup.