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Exclusive: Wallabies star to return to Waratahs in fresh blow to Rebels

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25th January, 2024
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Six years after leaving the Waratahs, Andrew Kellaway has found a way home to Sydney.

The Roar can reveal the Wallabies star has signed a long-term deal to return to the Waratahs from 2025 through until the 2027 World Cup.

His signature is a swift and strong response by the Tahs after losing Mark Nawaqanitawase to the NRL, with the Wallabies young gun to join the Sydney Roosters next year.

His looming departure is a fresh blow for the Melbourne Rebels, who are fighting to stay financially afloat beyond the season.

It’s believed Kellaway’s decision to sign with the Waratahs has nothing to do with the Rebels’ precarious financial position, with the deal in the pipeline for months, but the outside back is one of the side’s top talents.

Jordan Petaia, Mark Nawaqanitawase and Andrew Kellaway of Australia looks dejected as the players of Australia form a huddle at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Australia at Parc Olympique on September 24, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Andrew Kellaway (R) will replace his Wallabies teammate Mark Nawaqanitawase (C) at the Waratahs in 2025. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The 28-year-old has a strong relationship with Waratahs coach Darren Coleman, who has been doubling up as the franchise’s recruitment manager since former general manager Andrew Blades departed, dating back almost a decade since first working together in the National Rugby Championship.

The experienced Wallaby, who attended Scots College, has also recently welcomed his first child into the world and his return to Sydney will see him closer to family.


Just where Kellaway plays remains to be seen.

The Waratahs are hoping to re-sign teenage sensation Max Jorgensen, who is considered a long-term fullback, while Joseph Suaalii is also on his way to the Waratahs after his mega multi-million-dollar deal from the Roosters.

Kellaway’s pending return comes after he left the Waratahs frustrated and dispirited after failing to reach the heights many thought he would achieve out of school.

His decision to return to the Waratahs comes months after he considered leaving Australian rugby following last year’s World Cup disaster.

“To be honest, it broke me a bit towards the end there,” Kellaway told The Roar last week.

“A couple of weeks after that [the World Cup], I was like, ‘how do I get out of here? How do I get out of Australian rugby?’”


Andrew Kellaway started his push for the Wallabies after returning to the Rebels in 2020. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

The versatile back has since said he has gained some “optimism” from the conversations he’s been involved with Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh.

Despite deciding to leave Melbourne, the classy outside back has a big role to play for the Rebels in 2024.

Kellaway, who started his run for the Wallabies after arriving at the Rebels in 2020, said it was time for the club to stand up and be counted after several false dawns.

“For us now, we have no excuses,” Kellaway said.

“We’ve got a roster that should be competing every week.

“Even before I was in Melbourne, there’s always been an excuse, depth or injuries or whatever and that’s fair enough, but there is no excuse this year and we’re here to compete and anything short of that will be a failure as far as we’re concerned.”