Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh insists Mark Nawaqanitawase’s shock defection to the NRL won’t harm his chances of earning selection for the Wallabies…
The Sydney Roosters have re-signed rising star back-rower Siua Wong until the end of 2026 as their roster retention drive gathers pace.
The 20-year-old is regarded as one of the most talented young forwards in the game and there were fears he may be forced out of the club due to the club already having high-profile stars like Brandon Smith, Victor Radley, Angus Crichton, Lindsay Collins and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in their pack next year.
Crichton had been told he could negotiate an early release with Rugby Australia as the Roosters tried to fit Wong and fellow young forward Terrell May in their bulging salary cap.
Despie the Crichton deal falling through, they have been able to agree to terms with Wong hot on the heels of the Tricolours securing top squad trio Billy Smith, Nat Butcher and Connor Watson on new deals and welcoming Panthers prop Spencer Leniu and Knights winger Dominic Young to the club on lucrative contracts.
They have freed up space for 2025 with Joseph Suaalii heading to rugby but that deal is now clouded due to the sudden departures of Wallabies coach Eddie Jones and Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan.
The Roosters will now turn their attention to securing off-contract New Zealand international Joseph Manu to a new deal.
The 2018 and 2019 title winner is set to be in strong demand with St George Illawarra coach Shane Flanagan already making a public declaration of the Dragons interest.
But they also have veteran playmaker Luke Keary and second-rower Sitili Tupouniua coming off contract along with forward Nat Butcher, who was a fringe Kangaroos candidate for the recent Pacific Championships.
Wong, who has represented Fiji and Tonga, is the first player at the club to have graduated to the NRL via the Sydney Roosters Academy.
His 10 NRL games towards the end of the 2023 season stamped Wong as a ball runner and defender of class. It was no coincidence that the Roosters found late-season form and thrust in the forwards when he was introduced and won seven of the matches where Wong featured.
Wong joined the Roosters as a 14-year-old and the club has moved quickly to take him off the market with what is a two-year extension.
“I’ve loved the Roosters since the day I joined the club. I’ve found a home here,” Wong said.
“I’m so lucky to be coached by Trent (Robinson) and to be mentored by the senior players. I still have a lot of improvement in me and I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard to keep developing as a player and person.”
Robinson sung Bachelor of Arts student Wong’s praises.
“I’ve loved watching Siua’s growth in confidence, not only as a player, but also within the squad over the last few years,” Robinson said.
“Whatever he is tasked with, whether it be at training or to do with his studies, he gives his all. It’s exciting for the Roosters to know that he will continue to be part of the next generation we have progressing through the ranks.”
The Roosters have parted ways with a few squad members in recent months with Fletcher Baker’s switch to the Broncos the only regular first-grader.
Matt Lodge left late in the season for Manly, Paul Momirovskiheaded to the Super League while hooker Jake Turpin and utility Drew Hutchison have joined the Bulldogs and Jaxson Paulo has signed with the Sea Eagles.