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Sydney Roosters superstar Joey Manu has refused to rule out a return to the NRL after his stint in Japanese rugby union and confirmed an ambition to represent Cook Islands.

Manu, who has signed a one-year deal with Toyota Verblitiz, has been considering the challenge of cross-code switch for some time but the 2022 IRL Golden Boot winner insists he isn’t shutting the door on rugby league.

Asked if NRL fans would see him back in the Telstra Premiership, Manu said: “Hopefully, but I don't know for sure. I'm just I'm just going to live in the present and see what happens. I can’t really tell you, but hopefully”.

For now, the 28-year-old is enjoying his new right edge partnership with England winger Dom Young and star halfback Sam Walker.

Manu's flipping brilliant

The trio will play just their second game together against the Broncos on Friday night after starring in the ANZAC Day demolition of St George Illawarra and insist they will only get more lethal as the season continues.

“Dom's just like an X-factor, he’s just got a lot of speed and I just try to get him the space whenever I can,” Manu said.

“He's exciting to watch and exciting to play next to. Obviously, he got suspended for a couple of weeks, but I feel like once we start getting a few games together we can create a dangerous combo.

“If I do feel the space there for him, I'm just going to try and get the ball to him. We have seen what he is like in the backfield [against the Dragons] so hopefully he gets a few more opportunities like that.”

Young, who returned from a two-match ban after being sent off in the Round 5 loss to the Bulldogs, said he was still getting used to playing outside Manu after joining the Roosters from Newcastle this season.

Dominic Young Try

“You never know when you are going to get the ball, they can come up with anything so that is obviously a good thing for me,” Young said.

“Joey just makes things happen. He is a really good player and really dominant. You never know what is going to come from him so it’s my job to stay alive at all times.

“The Broncos are one of the top teams, so I am looking forward to playing them.”

The match will be broadcast on free-to-air television in the Cook Islands after Sydney Roosters entered into a sponsorship agreement for their NRL and NRLW games to be broadcast in the Pacific nation.

The deal began with the ANZAC Day game and was the first time most Cook Islanders had been able to watch live NRL action for a number of years.

With Brisbane forwards Brendan Piakura and Xavier Willison having represented Cook Islands there will be significant interest in the Broncos-Roosters clash, despite the kick-off being at midnight.

“I’ve got a few family over there, they've been posting on their Instagrams and stuff, and they're just happy because rugby league's pretty big over there,” Manu said.

“I've been back a couple of times, and they just love it. I am just proud of what the Roosters have done and hopefully we can turn most of the islands into Chooks supporters.

“ANZAC Day is such a big game, so for them to be able to watch that live was awesome and they were buzzing.

The deal is in honour of Manu and other players of Cook Islands heritage to have played for the Roosters, prompting CIRL chairman Charles Carlson to declare his hope that the Kiwis international will switch allegiances to play for Cook Islands.   

“I'm not sure. Hopefully I can get one in before I go to Japan,” Manu said. “I've been getting hounded from them for years now, so we'll see what happens, but I would love to put that jersey on.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.