The St.George Queensland Reds have added further firepower to their backline after signing Melbourne Storm speedster Suliasi Vunivalu on a two-year deal, beginning in 2021.
A schoolboy Rugby Union talent in New Zealand, Vunivalu will make the switch back to the 15-man code following several years in the NRL.
During his time in rugby league, the electrifying winger has broken the record for the most tries of any player in his first two seasons and currently has a total of 72 tries in 94 appearances for the Storm – including 11 in the 2019 season.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “As a group we look forward to welcoming Suliasi Vunivalu back to Rugby and to Queensland in 2021.
“Suliasi grew up playing Rugby in New Zealand before becoming one of the NRL’s most exciting players.
“He’s an impressive talent and has an awesome ability to find the try-line. He brings good experience too with almost 100 NRL games for Melbourne and 12 rugby league Tests for Fiji. Suliasi will be a great addition to our program,” said Thorn.
Born in Suva, Vunivalu moved from Fiji to New Zealand at 16 and played Rugby at Auckland’s St Kentigern College.
After impressing in schoolboy Rugby, Vunivalu made the Auckland Blues development squad before he was poached by rugby league and moved to Melbourne as an 18-year-old with the Storm’s U20s squad.
During his time in Melbourne’s U20s system, Vunivalu also played a total of 19 matches in the Queensland Cup competition with the Storm’s two feeder clubs – the Sunshine Coast Falcons (2015) and Brisbane-based side, the Easts Tigers (2016).
Following his success with Easts in 2016, Vunivalu went on to make his NRL debut in Round 7 for the Storm where he scored two tries.
They were the first of many that year, as Vunivalu broke the record for Melbourne’s highest try-scorer in one season with a total of 23 which also saw him take-out the 2016 Dally M Top Try Scorer award.
He would repeat this effort in 2017 as he won the Dally M Top Try Scorer award for a second-straight year with a further 23 tries and capped-off the season with a premiership after the Storm won the NRL Grand Final.
Vunivalu has scored 12 tries in eight Tests for the Fiji Bati, including nine during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Place of birth: Suva, Fiji
Senior Club: –
Junior Club: –
School: St Kentigern College, Auckland (NZ)
Representative Honours: Melbourne Thunderbolts U20s (2014-2015), Sunshine Coast Falcons – Queensland Cup (2015), Easts Tigers – Queensland Cup (2016), Melbourne Storm (2016-2019), Fiji Bati (2017-2019)
Super Rugby caps: –
Super Rugby debut: –