Suliasi Vunivalu contract news | Wayne Bennett, the Dolphins chasing ex Storm star for NRL return


By Ben Dobbin and Michael Atkinson

Wayne Bennett is keeping a keen eye on former Storm premiership-winner turned Queensland Reds flyer, Suliasi Vunivalu.

The Fijian powerhouse has had a difficult time in rugby since switching codes at the beginning of the 2021 Super Rugby season.

Vunivalu missed the opening game of 2021 due to suspension, relating to assault charges which were later dropped, and has only managed seven games in 14 months, largely due to multiple hamstring injuries.

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The 27-year-old is off contract with the Reds and Rugby Australia this year and is believed to be chasing a return to the NRL. The Dolphins are well placed to secure his services, with a war chest of cash to spend.

If Vunivalu was to head to Redcliffe, he would become the fourth member of the Storm’s 2020 premiership team to join the NRL’s newest franchise, joining Felise Kaufusi, as well as Kiwi brothers, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich.

Despite his injury frustrations and lack of game time, Rugby Australia and Queensland Rugby bosses are eager to retain the services of the marquee signing. In his limited appearances, Vunivalu has shown his impressive skills, scoring five tries in seven games and proving he can be a point of difference in the 15-man game.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is a big fan and has included Vunivalu in two national squads, but injuries have ruined any chance of Vunivalu earning national selection.

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The next move for rugby officials in the contract extension discussions is being put on ice until Vunivalu can get back on the field.

If he can put his injuries behind him and play regular games, both Rugby Australia and the Reds will be eager to keep him around and not let the investment go to waste.

Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens are back in new team colours this week as they review round four of Super Rugby Pacific, the penultimate round of the Six Nations and have a chat all things Super W with Brumbies star Jemima McCalman

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