The wait is on and we would say the clock is ticking, but for the present moment, any ticking will require a calendar to mark the time from now until rugby code-hopper Suliasi Vunivalu takes the ground for the Queensland Reds.
He will appear in 2021 after he is free of his commitment to the NRL’s Melbourne Storm.
The announcement is good news for the Wallabies, because Vunivalu has lived in Australia for long enough to qualify for international rep duty on the basis of residency.
Having a contract in place to dovetail with the end of his deal with the Storm is about as close as a footballer can get to job and financial security, as many footballers have discovered.
Legend and World Cup winner Jeremy Paul has launched the hyperbole rocket with his claim that Vunivalu has the potential to outstrip Israel Folau as a fullback. He is listed as a winger, but his skills should make it possible to switch positions.
When he gets on for the Reds, he will be reunited with former Storm teammate Marika Koroibete. The latter needed some time to adjust to the new code, but did so well enough to claim the 2019 John Eales Medal.
“I’ve got huge wraps on this kid,” Paul said during a television appearance on Bill and Boz. “Marika Koroibete when he came over, he was more of that powerful runner, really strong defender — not necessarily a tackler but a really good strong defender.”
Vunivalu is noted as having a nose for the try line, which is a valuable trait for a winger, but he has ability to go in the air, which suggests to Paul that fullback would be a good spot for Vunivalu.
The fact that the Reds have improved under the leadership of coach Brad Thorn is viewed as a good omen of Vunivalu.
Paul’s view on converts was interesting.
“One of the worst thing about bringing a convert over is putting them with a crap side. And one of the things that’s exciting about the Reds is that they’re going to be, hopefully, peaking about that time and they should have some really good players.”
We’ve been on the wrong side of the crap, so we find ourselves in agreement with Paul and besides, who would argue with a legend?