Wallabies fans may just see Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray in a green and gold jersey – but not until 2025.
The South Sydney captain has already won two State of Origin series and a 13-man World Cup despite being only 25, but it was rugby that really caught his eye as a junior.
Whenever contract talks heat up and union fans speculate who could change the codes and save the day, as Israel Folau and Sonny Bill Williams once did, Murray’s name comes up one of the first.
So it was no surprise that a brilliant second runner emerged when Wallabies new coach Eddie Jones stated he wanted rugby union to capture some of the best talent the NRL has to offer.
Could we see Cameron Murray wearing a Wallabies T-shirt (digitally edited image, left)? The answer is yes, but the Rabbitohs captain has a contract until the end of 2024 and probably won’t consider changing until then
New Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has revealed he wants to lure former rugby union juniors back from the NRL
When Australia rugby’s worst-kept secret finally came out and Jones was announced as Dave Rennie’s assistant ax coach, he said he was determined to bring the relationship back to its glory days when he was at the helm last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup in 2002.
He wanted to emphasize that his number one priority was developing those already in and at the core of the code – but the man who loves having both players and coaching staff with experience in elite rugby league made it clear that he has several NRL stars keep his eye on.
‘NO. 2 [priority] it involves bringing back players who were initially lost from rugby to rugby league because of the financial incentives the league is able to give players. We want to get lost players back,” Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald in January.
“I’m sure I’m attracted to playing at the home Rugby World Cup [in 2027] there may be something that will draw them back.
And which player’s contract expires just in time to prepare for the said World Cup? Why would it be Murray, whose lucrative contract with the Rabbitohs expires in 2025 – and left the door well and truly open to step back.
“I have a three-year contract, that’s what I’m focusing on and it’s time to think about my future,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If the time comes and I’m out of contract and negotiating my future, then I’ll think about it. I loved school rugby. I will still watch big international matches, but I don’t want a lot of sport at all.
Cameron Murray celebrates the ordeal as Australia beat Samoa in last year’s World Cup final
Murray has also won two State of Origin series with the Blues despite being only 25 years old
Murray passes the ball while playing inside for Newington College First XV in 2015
It is well known that Murray captained one of NSW’s most prestigious schools – and famous rugby preschool – Newington College when they won the 2015 GPS Championship.
Beside him on the wing in this star-studded defense was Eels star Bailey Simonsson.
The rock-hard second rower from the working-class south Sydney suburbs has always played well above his weight, appearing on the pitch for both the league (Mascot Jets) and association (Coogee Blacks) in his youth.
Murray, who played at center mid for Union, has the perfect combination of stamina, silky ball and solid defense to quickly adapt to playing in a 15-man game – and fellow Souths Lachlan Ilias firmly believes he can progress.
“Eddie is aiming to hit the best players in the league, Cam is one of those players and he could play any position in rugby except prop…whatever sport he plays he’s good,” said the young half who also played school rugby union.
The fact that Murray made far fewer tackles per match in union also reduced his chances of suffering a concussion – something that has sadly plagued him several times in recent years.
Cameron Murray has suffered a number of serious injuries over the last few years and a move to a union would mean he would be less likely to be exposed to difficult situations
School rugby prodigy (left), Roosters superstar Joseph Sua’ali’i will be Jones’ next high-profile target
Of course, he is not the only target for Jones, who recently added former Eels and Tigers striker Brett Hodgson to his coaching staff.
Roosters starlet Joseph Sua’ali’i was one of the best rugby prospects of a generation as he stunned at no. 15 for the extremely prestigious The Kings School, playing alongside the brilliant center of Eels, Villa Penisini.
Like Murray, Sua’ali’i won’t be joining the Wallabies any time soon, after opting for 2024 with Chooks – again, leaving the door open for a return to code where he was extremely excellent.
It’s a long list of hits for Jones, but Murray and Sua’ali’i will be right at the top in 2025.