PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Joseph Suaalii of the Roosters looks dejected after the Roosters were defeated by the Pamthers during the round 15 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Sydney Roosters at Panthers Stadium, on June 18, 2021, in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

With gun youngster Joseph Suaalii on his way back to rugby union, the general feeling is "oh no, here comes rugby union again!"

Like that younger brother who goes missing only to occasionally return to annoy it's far more entertaining and vastly superior, older brother, the 15-man game looks to have it sights set on league's best.

It's no coincidence that the expected raid comes in the first year of a new World Cup cycle. South Africa will host the year-end 2023 World Cup with the next tournament taking place here in Australia during 2027.

2025 will also see the Wallabies host the prestigious Lion's tour, when a combination of players from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England come down under.

They will play a three-Test series with a floated fourth test against a combination of the Wallabies and All Blacks.

I joke (factually) that the other code is a less entertaining version of the greatest game of all, but nothing in our game compares to that series against the Lions.

Given the fact the Wallabies will host this monster tour, followed fairly closely by a World Cup, it's only natural that Rugby Australia will want to maximise it's playing roster, and star power.

And Suaalii is the first following his time playing the code as a junior.

Given his newly minted one-year extension with the Roosters, the switch will occur in 2025 with the NSW Warratahs likely to land his services.

His signing is undoubtedly made with a view toward the aforementioned World Cup.

Suaalii, despite being just 27 games into his NRL career, is viewed as a future megastar. With the large majority of 2023 to come and with 2024 to be played out at Bondi, there's every chance the star youngster will leave as one of our biggest stars.

Toby Rudolf mentioned on a James Graham hosted podcast in the past few weeks that he would be open to a return to Rugby upon the competition of his Sharks contract.

NRL Rd 4 - Cowboys v Sharks
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 06: Toby Rudolf of the Sharks is tackled during the round four NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at QCB Stadium on June 06, 2020 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Although I get the feeling his was an off the cuff comment, refusing to shut down any potential options, you'd have to be pretty naive to suggest rugby's raid ends at Suaalii.

The poaching of cross-code stars is hardly a new tactic.

The last Wallabies side of any consequence, at least in my eyes, was the one starring Mat Rogers and Lote Tuqiri.

Former Wallabies captain George Smith, who was capped 111 times, was discovered while trialing for the Manly Sea Eagles.

Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt both represented the national side in the 15-man game after brief but spectacular league careers. The novelty runs in AFL don't need exploring.

Recently we've seen Suliasi Vunivalu and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck make the switch, while a certain Sonny Bill Williams was a pretty big deal across the Tasman.

Newly re-appointed Wallabies coach Eddies Jones (who also coached the national side between 2001 and 2005) was heavily linked to multiple jobs in Rugby League.

The aforementioned George Smith discovery is credited to Eddie Jones. I have no doubt in the world he is, at least in part, responsible for the Suaalii (expected) signing.

I also have no doubt that we'll hear players "open" to code switches. Especially those off-contract in 2024, '25 and '26. Especially those in the earlier years of their careers.

Whether or not they ever make the switch, or even seriously consider it, is up for debate but it's a negotiation tactic the very second a big name completes the code hop.

I'm not saying that the Wallabies will poach 20 players and rely on the league converts for their 2027 World Cup campaign but they'd be silly not to have a closer look.

Many players grew up playing both codes. Even those who haven't will be open to the idea, especially those plying their trades in the halves our outside backs.

You couldn't convince me that players such as Kotoni Staggs, Joseph Manu, Nathan Cleary, Matt Burton etc couldn't become stars in rugby. I'm shocked David Fifita wasn't a target prior to his long-term extension on the Gold Coast.

I'm sure Bulldogs fans are grinning upon hearing Matt Burton's contract has been extended. Can you imagine that boot in the Super Rugby and then for the Wallabies?

Matt Burton during the round two NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bulldogs at AAMI Park on March 11, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

I know the ball is slightly different but very few people in the country strike the ball as sweet as the Dogs' five-eighth. He'd kick a beach ball 100 metres.

A quick look at the Off Contract players in 2025 shows the following superstars free to move clubs, or codes:

Valentine Holmes, Kotoni Staggs, Reece Walsh, Isaiah Papali'i, Cameron Murray, Haumole Olakau'atu, Selwyn Cobbo and Ronaldo Mulitalo.

Of course this is two and the majority of a third years away, where anything can happen, but you tell me which of these players couldn't be a star in Rugby with two Super Rugby seasons under their belt?

Suaalii aside, it may not happen overnight but I expect to see the union links, and signings, begin in the not too distant future.

The threat of cross-code poaching has always been there but Rugby League is about to enter the perfect storm of circumstances for a Rugby raid.

Player managers and players themselves will find themselves with a big bargaining chip with clubs and the code as a whole will have to brace itself.