- Mark Nawaqanitawase has broken his silence on his code switch
- Nawaqanitawase, 23, has left the Wallabies for the Roosters
- But he says he was not jumping from a sinking ship at Rugby Australia
Mark Nawaqanitawase has stressed that he has no interest in being part of the ‘code war’ as the new Roosters star broke his silence on his switch to rugby league.
Nawaqanitawase, who has won 11 caps for Australia since making his international rugby debut on last year’s spring tour of Europe, will join the Sydney Roosters on a two-year deal from 2025.
The loss of one of their brightest rising stars is a major blow for Rugby Australia at a time when the code is under increasing scrutiny following a hugely disappointing World Cup campaign.
But, speaking for the first time since his defection, Nawaqanitawase insists he is not jumping from a sinking ship, insisting that the opportunity offered by the Roosters was too good to refuse.
‘I’m not doing this code change in any way to have a crack at rugby,’ he said via Sydney Morning Herald.
Mark Nawaqanitawase has broken his silence on his switch from rugby to the NRL
The 23-year-old winger has ditched the Wallabies to sign for NRL side the Roosters
‘I love the sport and it’s got me to this position in life. To see some of the stuff that is being said is actually quite laughable.
‘I’m not some part of a code war, I’m just doing what is right for me right now, and the opportunity at this young age to play for a club like the Roosters is something that I could not knock back.’
Nawaqanitawase could return to the Wallabies for the 2027 World Cup, to be hosted on home soil, but remained coy about his long term ambitions in the NRL.
‘That’s just going to depend on how things go over the next couple of years, and if I fall in love with the game like I expect to do,’ he said.
‘I’d be silly not to look at things in 2027 when it comes to rugby, but right now that is a long way down the track and a lot can happen in that time.
‘Of course, I wouldn’t rule anything out but, to be honest, the opportunity I’ve got right now is one that not many people my age could hope to get.’
But he says he isn’t leaving because Rugby Australia is in turmoil after a year from hell
Nawaqanitawase added that he has never met Joseph Suaalii before, despite the pair being inevitably linked given the former Roosters star is on his way to the Wallabies.
‘I’ve seen our names are often mentioned together, but I’ve never met him and I’m sure he’s got a lot on his plate right now,’ Nawaqanitawase said.
‘Of course, if we ever got the chance to have a chat I’d like that given the link with the Roosters and rugby. I’ve obviously watched everything that he’s gone through.’