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Joey Manu makes call on returning to NRL with Roosters after rugby union stint

Manu underlined his importance to the Roosters with a round one masterclass in Las Vegas.

Joey Manu says he still plans on playing "a few more years" with the Roosters in the NRL, despite confirming that he's all but set for a switch to rugby union after this season. Manu underlined his importance to the TriColours with a round one masterclass in Las Vegas that included an intercept try and an outrageous assist in the 20-10 win over Brisbane.

However, the New Zealand international has been constantly linked with a code switch to the 15-a-side game and has informed the club he intends on making a move to French rugby from 2025. Manu is still only 27 and has won two premierships with the Roosters after joining the club as a 16-year-old.

Pictured here, Roosters star Joey Manu.
Roosters star Joey Manu has all but confirmed he will switch from the NRL to rugby union after this season. Pic: AAP

The 2022 Golden Boot winner has not given any indication how long he plans on staying in rugby union. But in a development that will delight Roosters fans, Manu admitted it was his plan to "finish" his footy career with the TriColours or at least feature in several more seasons after 2024.

"I hope I get to finish my career here or get a few more years here," Manu said. "I came here when I was 16. So to give back to the club, the fans, the members and all that, would be special. They kick-started my career and hopefully I get a few more years in."

Manu has been an integral part of the Roosters' success and would undoubtedly be welcomed back with open arms, much in the same way fellow Kiwi great Sonny Bill Williams was. SBW left the Roosters in 2014 and won two Rugby World Cups as part of the mighty All Blacks sides of 2015 and 2019, before returning to the Bondi-based NRL club in 2020.

Joey Manu 'most probably' leaving for rugby in 2025

While Manu is yet to officially confirm his switch to rugby, the 27-year-old admits the "challenge" of a new sport is one that fuels him with motivation. Manu revealed after Roosters' round one win in Vegas that he was still "sorting things out" for 2025, but was "most probably" leaving the NRL for a new adventure at the end of this season.

Seen here, Joey Manu playing for the Roosters against the Broncos in the NRL.
Joey Manu was a standout for the Roosters against the Broncos in the NRL's Las Vegas season opener. Pic: Getty

"I just love the challenge of being uncomfortable," Manu said. "I really feel like that's where you grow as a person and player, being challenged. It's not that I'm not being challenged here. But it's been a while since I've been here. I've been rusted into the spot for a while. But learning a whole new game and it's just something different and (to) also experience as well."

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Joey Manu arrived late in Vegas after birth of first child

Manu almost missed the Las Vegas blockbuster against the Broncos due to the birth of his first child Laylia, last Saturday. The Kiwi international flew out of Sydney later than the rest of the squad so he could be by his wife Ty's side for the birth, with the Roosters deciding that he would have remained in Australia if the baby arrived even one day later.

The 27-year-old was one of the stars for the Roosters in their impressive win against last year's grand finalists. Manu scored the first try against Brisbane off an intercept and laid on his side's second try for Fetalaiga Pauga with an early contender for 'pass of the season'. The Roosters centre says he was prepared to miss the historic Las Vegas match if Laylia did not arrive in time though.

"It was her having a baby. I just wanted to have her experience, and she wanted it naturally," Manu said about his wife. "The main thing was for her to be as comfortable as she could be. I'm glad I didn't miss the birth. It's the best thing that's happened to me.

"It was tough. I honestly thought I wasn't going to come at one stage. Even when she came, I was like I will stay and look after baby and my wife. And then 'Robbo' (Roosters coach Trent Robinson) forced me to get on that plane... (My wife) was really supportive as well."

with AAP

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