In the world of nature, it is the sharks that do the circling, waiting for an opportunity to move in for the kill. In the NRL, however, those soft, cuddly bunnies do the circling.
The slightest hint that a premier to better-than-average player is shopping for his next deal sends South Sydney into a frenzy.
The Rabbitohs may have lost Angus Crichton to a rival club, but they responded by taking a couple of promising youngsters from the other code. Nothing says look to the future for a club intent on seizing a premiership from an arch rival more than the signing of a couple of teenage boys who could be years away from an NRL debut.
South Sydney has signed Joseph Suaalii for the next three seasons, along with Lachlan Ilias.
Crichton was just 17 when he joined South Sydney in 2014, so the schoolyards are fertile hunting grounds for the Rabbitohs. Losing him to the Roosters must have stung, but Sydney may have been boosted in the 2019 premiership markets by adding Crichton. The Roosters are almost prohibitive favourites to win the top prize in 2019, although South Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are legitimate chances and deserve to be in the conversation as the 2019 season inches closer.
“We believe Joseph and Lachlan have long and fruitful NRL careers in front of them,” Souths head of football Shane Richardson said. “It’s exciting to see young talent like Joseph and Lachlan in the red and green, showing the Rabbitohs are the club of choice for young talent in our game and … other codes.”
Well, if an AFL club can benefit from the mentoring of an ex-NRL player, it is not nearly so much of a stretch to see young players from the 15-man game transition to the NRL.
Suaalii was considered a potential representative for the Wallabies had he remained in the code, but he already has some experience in league from playing for Souths in the developmental grades.