Talented Warriors youngster off to Japanese Union

Omar Slaimankhel

You could the line from the famous Queen song, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, or, you could stare at disbelief in the carrot that was thrown in front of young Warriors utility Omar Slaimankhel, to join Japanese rugby union.

In a move that will see him in the same competition as the soon-to-return-to-NRL Sonny Bill Williams, Slaimankhel was offered and accepted a 2-year deal worth $610,000 a season, with the club not named for legal reasons.

Despite heavy interest from the Cowboys, the Storm and the Rabbitohs, it was the lucrative offer that was simply too good to refuse for the Afghan local.

At just 20, there were a few clubs interested in Slaimankhel, and even though he only played in five NRL games, several teams were after him – and the offer at his age, was just too good to refuse.

“I was talking to a few other NRL clubs and it was a real tough decision for sure, but I’m going to Japan,” he said. “One injury these days can end your career so going to Japan is great security.

“With the offer I’ve got, it’s too hard to give up.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people about what I should do and not one of them has told me to ignore the offer. The security is massive, this deal can set me up for life and the money is huge compared to what I’d get in the NRL.”

Slaimankhel is no stranger to the game of rugby union, having played in the starting 15 for Auckland Grammar, before moving into rugby league.

With the live-wire utility to go up against his good friend in SBW, he admits that he is likely to return to the NRL, once his 2-year deal is over.

“I’m good mates with Sonny Bill, I spoke to him about it and he said it would be a great experience,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to playing against him. I haven’t played much NRL and it won’t be easy to get back in, but I’m passionate about the game and I’m young enough to try and crack it again one day.”

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