NSW Waratahs have secured a big win in the code war with rugby league for the game’s best young talent, extending schoolboy sensation Max Jorgensen on a two-year deal.
Jorgensen is the son of former Roosters and Panther player Peter, who also represented the Wallabies.
He was keenly pursued by NRL clubs, with Fox League’s James Hooper reporting earlier this month that teams were “queuing up” for his signature while The Sydney Morning Herald reported the Bulldogs and Roosters pushed hard for him.
The Roosters may have won the battle for Joseph Suaalii’s signature but this is a win for the Waratahs and rugby union in general, according to Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos.
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“It’s always great for us to be able to keep the most exciting prospects in the game of Rugby,” he said of extending 18-year-old Jorgensen.
“Max has shown himself to be one of those special young players in schoolboy Rugby, and we are thrilled that he agreed to continue his blossoming career in the game with the NSW Waratahs.”
Jorgensen was named in the Junior Wallabies squad earlier this year, building on two starring performances at fullback for the NSW under-18s in further proof of his undeniable potential.
The schoolboy talent will not be thrown right into the Super Rugby though, with Waratahs coach Darren Coleman understanding of the need to take a patient approach.
“Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after,” Coleman said.
“It’s great he has decided to remain at the Waratahs especially after spending the past three years in our academy.
“Max understands he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before he can become a fully-fledged Super Rugby player, but we look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game.”
SUPER LEAGUE FLYER STAYING PUT
In other news, the Knights have missed out on the signature of Super League flyer Bevan French after he instead opted to re-sign with the Wigan Warriors.
The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio had reported back in August that French was expected to sign a two-year deal with Newcastle so he could be closer to family.
But French has now come to an agreement with Wigan, signing until at least the end of 2024, with a further two-year option and will still get a chance to see family more regularly.
“I’m very happy to get it sorted. It’s been a long process, but I’ve got an opportunity to stick around and hopefully win some more silverware along the way,” French said.
“It was things outside of rugby that we had to get into place for this to happen so I’m very grateful it’s done now. My family was a big reason for going back to Australia.
“We’ve worked it out where my brother can come and spend some time over here. Looking after my brother first and foremost was the main priority and for him to come over and experience Rugby League, Wigan and the community, I’m really looking forward to creating some memories with him.”
“Bevan is a superstar of the sport,” added Wigan executive director Kris Radlinski.
“This signing is as much for the competition of Super League as it is for Wigan and its fans. It is our intention over the next few years to grow the profile of Bevan and make him a household name in British sport.”