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HomeSports'I went to pick him up': How close Jonah Lomu came to...

‘I went to pick him up’: How close Jonah Lomu came to joining the NRL

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All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu almost became the most expensive player “in the history” of Australian rugby league after being approached by the Gold Coast Titans in 2007.

Ahead of their inaugural campaign in the NRL, the Titans attempted to sign one of the greatest All Blacks to have ever donned the coveted black jersey.

Star winger Lomu, who sadly passed away in 2015, made his international debut without playing a single game of Super Rugby – and quickly rose to icon status.

Standing at six-foot-five and weighing about 125-kilograms, Lomu was a game-changing winger for the All Blacks.

Lining up in the now-famous No. 11 jersey for New Zealand, the rampaging winger was seemingly unstoppable during his prime.

Lomu famously ran over England replacement Mike Catt in the semi-final of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa – but that was only a glimpse into his greatness.

All Blacks No. 941 also starred in the shorter format of the game, having won a gold medal with the All Blacks Sevens team at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998.

To put it simply, Lomu was a legend.

Lomu was off contract after a couple of years with the Cardiff Blues, and was approached by Scott Sattler and the Titans regarding a stunning code switch after flying into Brisbane.

According to SEN, Sattler was in charge of taking Lomu to the Gold Coast clubs headquarters, and was also part of the contract discussions.

“I went to pick him up from the Brisbane Airport and I’ve never seen so many media (members), there was media from Asian countries and England… there was media on the back of motorbikes trying to get footage of him,” Sattler said on SEN 1170 Sportsday.

“His second wife, she was his manager, and she was the toughest negotiator I ever dealt with.

“He was pretty much finished and he was having problems with his kidneys.

“The option to sign him was going to cost the club more than any player in the history of the game, (if you) take Super League out of it.

“I remember her in the meeting saying you’re not signing Jonah Lomu the player, you’re signing the name, you’re signing the profile.”


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