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Roosters confirm bombshell Joey Manu move

Martin Gabor -

The Roosters are on the hunt for some firepower out wide after superstar centre Joseph Manu confirmed he would leave the NRL at the end of the year to join Japanese rugby club Toyota Verblitz.

The two-time premiership winner has indicated that this would be his last year in the NRL, with Manu keen to challenge himself in a new sport.

The former Golden Boot winner is coming off his best game of 2024 at fullback in place of skipper James Tedesco (head knock), with Manu running freely in a position many people wanted to see him play permanently.

There are hopes Manu will return to the NRL where he has carved up since he debuted in 2016, with the Roosters now on the hunt for some big names given they will also lose Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii to rugby in 2025.

Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii and Joseph Manu will leave the NRL at the end of the season. Picture: NRL Photos

Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii and Joseph Manu will leave the NRL at the end of the season. (Image: NRL Photos)

"I have cherished my time playing rugby league for the Roosters, so it's been a tough decision to leave the club and NRL," he said.

"I will always be grateful to wear the Roosters jersey and to everyone who has supported me and provided me with some incredible opportunities.

"While I'm excited to embrace the challenge of playing rugby in Japan, right now I am focused on finishing this year strongly and performing at my very best for the Roosters."

Manu is one of the game's most gifted players, but the Roosters haven't given up on him one day returning to the club.

Manu is one of the game's most gifted players, but the Roosters haven't given up on him one day returning to the club.

Manu, 27, won premierships in 2018 and 2019, and the hope is that he returns to the Tricolours when his rugby deal expires.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson supports the decision and is keen to win another title before one of the game's greatest talents leaves at the end of the season.

"Joey has been open about his desire to experience the challenge of living overseas with his young family and of playing in a different environment, so while we are sad to see him go, we fully support him," Robinson said.

"Joey will always be a Rooster. He is very clear on what he wants to achieve this season and we look forward to sharing the year ahead."

Martin Gabor - NCA NewsWire

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