Following in the footsteps of Marika Koroibete, fellow Fijian Suliasi Vunivalu will depart the Melbourne Storm to take up a rugby union deal.
Vunivalu will see out 2020, the final year of his Melbourne Storm contract, before moving onto a two-year deal with the Queensland Reds.
In a bid to end speculation surrounding his future, the club felt it best to release a statement and confirm the news.
“Suli has received an offer from rugby union which we couldn’t compete with financially,” Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said.
“It’s always disappointing to lose quality players but we understand Suli’s decision.”
Although his exploits and try-scoring feats will be missed, the club know he will be committed to his role in 2020.
“Importantly, he has expressed his total commitment to Storm for the next 12 months and we expect he will again play a key role in our 2020 campaign,” Donaghy continued.
“We have had experience in the past with players signing deals for the future but remaining with Storm to see out their current contracts.”
Taking a chance on a young Fijian prodigy with a union background, the Storm converted Vunivalu into an elite winger.
Although he is sad to leave, he has a family to look after and based his decision around them.
“The Storm has been wonderful to me, and I’m continuing to make great memories here,” Vunivalu said.
“However, the offer from rugby union was too good for me to refuse, especially considering I have a young family who I want to do the best for.”
His strong Union background made the decision easier and he Vunivalu could not bring himself to play against his Storm teammates.
“I was a rugby union player before switching to league and always thought going back to rugby was an option for my career and I never wanted to play for another NRL club,” Vunivalu continued.
“I’d hate to have to go up against Storm and my mates.
“Now this decision is public, I’m concentrating 100% on my final year in Melbourne and looking forward to doing the best I can for the boys, the coaches and all our members and fans.”