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Nathan Cleary one of three NRL superstars on Eddie Jones' 'hit-list'

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has set his sights on three Australian rugby league representatives as potential transfer targets, including two-time premiership hero Nathan Cleary.

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Rugby Australia officially signed Sydney Roosters flyer Joseph Suaalii over a week ago, which ended months of rumours and speculation surrounding his future.

The teenager signed what’s believed to be a multi-million dollar deal through until at least the end of 2027, which cold see him play for the national team at the Rugby World Cup on home soil.

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Suaalii has long been considered to be one of RA’s top transfer targets, and they managed to sign the rising star to a lucrative deal – a major coup for the game.

But Wallabies coach Eddie Jones isn’t stopping there. In a conversion with rugby league reporter Danny Weidler, Jones revealed “his three biggest targets.”

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary is believed to be Jones’ “second favourite” NRL player, while Cameron Murray and Matt Burton are also on the coaches’ “hit-list.”

“I don’t know if Waqa Blake is necessarily on that hit-list, but he has been offered to Eddie Jones and rugby union,” Weidler told Nine’s 100% footy.

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“I did have a chat to him to him today, and in an ideal world… his three biggest targets obviously are Cam Murray, he loves Cameron Murray but he said he wouldn’t disrespect Cameron Murray enough to try to get him out of a contract or try and entice him to break a contract.

“But he’s his favourite player in rugby league.

“Second favourite, Nathan Cleary. Obviously he’d be a great 10.

“Nathan did say on Nine News the other night that he has a bit of an interest in rugby, he grew up admiring Dan Carter in New Zealand.

“Matt Burton, he think’s he’d be an absolute smash hit in rugby union… those are the players he reckons.”

Nathan Cleary is widely considered to be one of the best players in the NRL, if not the best.

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The two-time premiership winner has starred at representative level with New South Wales in State of Origin, and won a Rugby League World Cup with Australia last year.

But Cleary, who grew up idolising All Black Dan Carter in New Zealand, hasn’t ruled out a move to the 15-player game.

“I have great respect and admiration for union players, particularly growing up in New Zealand, it’s so big over there,” Cleary told Nine News last week.

“At the moment I’m pretty with where I’m at.

“Somewhere down the track, maybe.”

South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray has also refused to rule out a code switch.

The star lock wants to see out his three-year deal with the esteemed NRL club, but would “contemplate and consider” a career change after.

“Yeah, I contemplate and consider it long-term, but that’s as much energy as I give it, so it’s all hypotheticals right now,” Murray told Nine News earlier this year.

“As far as I’m concerned, my loyalty is with my next three years at the club while I’m contracted here and that’s where my focus and energy is.”

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