The Sydney Roosters have a long-term plan to sign NSW fullback Josh Dugan for 2013 and launch a raid on some of rugby union’s biggest names.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that the Bondi Junction club’s hit-list includes Wallabies Quade Cooper and Berrick Barnes, along with All Blacks superstar Sonny Bill Williams.
A surprisingly poor start to the season has forced the Roosters into pursuing a new direction, geared towards adding speed and creativity to complement current playmakers Todd Carney and Mitchell Pearce.
Dugan comes off contract with the Raiders at the end of next year and has privately told a number of people within the NRL that he is prepared to walk away from Canberra.
The Roosters targeted Dugan as an NRL rookie in 2009, but the Green Machine were swift to upgrade his contract long-term.
The Raiders fullback remains close friends with Dally M Medallist Carney from their time in the national capital and the pair would form a potent combination.
The newly-crowned NSW Origin fullback is the Roosters’ top priority, ahead of Cooper, Williams and then Waratahs five-eighth Barnes.
Long-serving players Braith Anasta and Anthony Minichiello will be off contract at the end of next year, while recent additions Jason Ryles and Mark Riddell will retire at the end of this season.
And Queensland forward Nate Myles will walk away from the club one year early after securing a four-year deal with the Gold Coast.
Their departures and the anticipated salary cap increase to at least $6 million once the new television rights deal is negotiated will deliver the Tricolours a war chest to revamp their roster.
Current Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, Martin Kennedy, Carney and Pearce are all locked up until at least the end of 2013, giving the club a stable foundation to build on.