SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 14: Manu Ma'u of the Eels makes a break during the round 17 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium on July 14, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Manu Ma'u will decline the chance to remain in the NRL in favour of a move to the English Super League, revealing he refuses to wear colours of a rival side.

Three NRL sides were believed to be keen on Ma'u, who was one of 15 first grade players out of contract at season's end, with South Sydney notably interested.

“There was interest but I don’t want to play for anyone else,” Ma’u said.

“This club changed me. It’s getting quite emotional at the back end of the season now knowing we only have a few more games together, knowing it will be the last time I play for the club that has helped save my life.”

Ma'u was sentenced to 22 months in jail for his part in a brawl in Auckland in 2007, where the gang Ma'u was affiliated with stormed a birthday party seeking vengeance.

Following his release from prison in 2009, Ma'u played park rugby for Richmond Bulldogs and Marist Saints, whilst working as a labourer and painter.

In 2012, Ma'u joined Warriors feeder club the Auckland Vulcans, competing in the NSW Cup.

Ma'u was denied the ability to play away games in Australia by immigration authorities, who denied his entry into the country due to his criminal history.

In 2013, Paramatta coach Brad Arthur took on the immigration department in hope of giving Ma'u a lifeline and bringing the forward to the Eels.

Ma'u was finally granted a visa required to play rugby league in Australia after a year of discussions took place.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ma'u expressed his debt to Arthur, believing he would have followed a path of crime if it wasn't for the club's determination.

“I’ve been at the club for six years, B.A. (Arthur) and Steve Murphy our assistant coach have been there for me since the moment I arrived at the club,” he said.

“B.A. was the one who have my debut and I’m forever in debt to him for doing that because I don’t know where I’d be without him.

“If he didn’t give me my debut, I’d still be in New Zealand up to no good.”

Ma'u revealed that Paramatta had offered the 30-year-old an extension beyond 2019, but had accepted a two-year deal with UK club Hull FC.

“There was an offer there but just looking at the opportunity I got from England, it was offering more security,” he said.

“Brad was keen to have me, but I just told him this was a security deal for me and my family and he understood.

“He just said to me ‘you have to do what’s right for you and your family’ and that made me lean more to my England deal.”

1 COMMENT

  1. What a great story, and not just because it involves Parra.
    With so many stories about player’s misconducts it’s good to read one about the other side of the sport.
    I had a lot of respect for Ma’u, not for what he did as a younger man, but for turning it around / what he’s become, as well as a player, and after reading this story, that’s just gone up even further.
    Good luck Ma’u.
    P.S – I think, and I’m sure I’m not alone, the way you played for Parra paid us back in spades, and we’ll miss you.

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