While Schmidt would no doubt prefer to keep Nawaqanitawase on hand as cover, RA could save money by allowing the winger to leave with five months left on his contract.

Nawaqanitawase would be in line for a financial loss if he was to get a release, with the Roosters restricted on what they can offer. They would also likely be governed by the market value the NRL salary cap auditor places on him.

But the potential for Nawaqanitawase to become an Olympian in July has also emerged.

The winger has spoken with Australian sevens coach John Manenti about making a late selection bid for the 12-man squad to play in Paris.

Nawaqanitawase played for the Australian sevens team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He has a long-standing relationship with Manenti, who was instrumental in launching his rugby career by recommending the unknown schoolboy to the Waratahs academy in 2019.

“I know ‘Marky’ pretty well and we have had a few conversations,” Manenti told this masthead.

Mark Nawaqanitawase runs the ball during a Wallabies training session ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Mark Nawaqanitawase runs the ball during a Wallabies training session ahead of the Rugby World Cup.Credit: Getty

“I would certainly include him [in the selection mix] and have a look at him. There is a fair bit of work for him to do to get up to speed quickly but he has played with us before, and he went to the Commonwealth Games, at late notice as well. We want some more weapons to fire so he is still an option.”

The Australian sevens squad head to Fiji for practice matches next week, and if he elects to stay in rugby and have a run at Olympic selection, Nawaqanitawase will need to be on that trip.


Searching for speedy finishers to contend for a medal in Paris, Manenti has been in dialogue with Schmidt about his plans for the Wallabies squad, and in particular flying wings Corey Toole and Darby Lancaster.

“Out-and-out speed is of importance to us, and Darby and Corey probably offer a little bit more around high speed than Mark,” Manenti said. “But Mark has other strengths; he is good in the air and has an offload game.”

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