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Rugby News: Petaia weighs up NRL, NFL options as Reds contract winds down, All Black confirms 'f--kwit' sledge

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23rd January, 2024
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Wallaby Jordan Petaia says he’s attracting interest from two other football codes as well as Japanese rugby as he heads into the final year of his contract with Queensland and Rugby Australia.

Petaia told Newscorp that he has “the whole year to figure out what to do”.

In an interview, it was revealed he had fielded interest from a Queensland based NRL club (unnamed), Japanese rugby and scouts from the NFL’s International Player Pathway system.

Petaia is close friends with Mark Nawaqanitawase, who recently opted to move to the NRL after this season.

“I don’t know about other players but there’s not too much pressure around that sort of stuff,” Petaia said.

“It doesn’t change anything with my mindset. I’m focused at the Reds this year and for however long that is, but I’m just focused on this environment and doing what’s best for this team.

“I’ve had a few questions about [the NRL] but it’s still so early in the year. I still have this whole year to figure out what I’m going to do.

“I’m just enjoying my time at the Reds and trying to build a winning culture here, and see what options I’ve got at the end of the year with my manager.

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“He takes care of most that stuff and is fairly switched on there. I’ve got the easy job, I’ve just got to play footy and keep healthy.”

Jordan Petaia of the Wallabies passes during the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Petaia said he was “stoked” for Nawaqanitawase.

“I spoke to him the day of the [Roosters] announcement as well. He was happy about it all.

“I’m sure he’ll do great things in that code. He still has another year [of Super Rugby] to go, so we’re going to battle it out this year and have a laugh.

“Whatever he tries to do, as a mate, we’re happy to see.”

Petaia meanwhile welcomed the arrival of the Wallabies new coach.

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“I don’t know a lot about Joe Schmidt,” Petaia said. “He’s coached a lot in the northern hemisphere but I’m glad someone has filled that role and it’s exciting for Australian rugby.

“I’ve never said I was going to leave rugby but the winning is always good.

“A part of last year was just moving on from that campaign and we’re starting a new leaf. We always want to build a winning culture, that doesn’t really shape what I’m going to do, but you always want to be part of a winning culture. I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”

Retallick confirms O’Mahony sledge

Brodie Retallick has confirmed his brutal post-match sledge of Ireland enforcer Peter O’Mahony following the All Blacks World Cup quarterfinal win.

After the All Blacks defeated Ireland 28-24, Retallick turned to O’Mahony and said: “Oi Peter, four more years, you f–kwit.”

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Retallick told the What A Lad that: “I said what was reported. When they beat us in Wellington in that series [in 2022], he was just into us on the field, spraying us left, right, and centre. I enjoy it — when you’re having your day, you let them know it, but I’m definitely going to give it back when we’re having our day, and what better moment than that one right there, that’s for sure.”

During that series in New Zealand, O’Mahony was reported to have told All Black captain Sam Cane that he was a “shit Richie McCaw.”

‘Scared for the other teams’

Teagan Levi fears for rival teams when her big sister Maddison is finally unleashed in the Perth Sevens as Australia’s women gun for a hat-trick of world series titles.

Superstar Maddison Levi will miss the first three games of this weekend’s tournament after receiving a red card for a dangerous tackle in Australia’s thrilling win over France in the Cape Town final last month.

Her sending off came after the 21-year-old set up victory with two tries, in the process becoming the quickest player to reach 100 tries in women’s world series matches.

Australia are looking for a home win in the tournament, which gets underway on Friday, after finishing a disappointing fifth in last year’s series in Sydney.

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A year younger than Maddison, Teagan expects her sister to come out firing when she gets into the action in the quarter-finals.

“I’m scared for the other teams for Maddi to be fresh,” Teagan said after the squad’s training run in Perth.

“She’s always a weapon out on the field whether she’s fresh or not, so it will be really exciting to see her come out in the quarter-final – hopefully we make it there – and she will show what she’s got and why she’s the leading try-scorer.”

Australia will have a new face in the line-up for Perth in 18-year-old Queenslander Heidi Dennis.

Dennis is a cross-code sensation, originally linked with the Brisbane Roar in soccer’s A-League Women before focusing on the seven-a-side oval-ball game.

The teenager has come in for Demi Hayes, who has suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury, and Teagan said Dennis will be a player to watch if she gets a chance in Perth.

“She’s a big body, she’s really powerful and she’s also got some speed about her, so it will be exciting to hopefully see her debut on the weekend,” Teagan said.

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“With Mads missing three games, Heidi has a big position to step into – so does everybody else.”

In the group stage, Australia’s women face Canada (world No.5), South Africa (No.11) and Great Britain (No.9).

England suffer injury setback

England are set to be without centre Ollie Lawrence and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie for their Six Nations opener against Italy.

Both picked up injuries in last weekend’s Champions Cup and withdrew from the training camp in Girona.

England have called up Newcastle’s Jamie Blamire and the Bath backs Max Ojomoh and Will Muir.

England have not specified the nature or severity of Cowan-Dickie or Lawrence’s injuries.

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