It is not uncommon for professional sportsmen to switch from one football code to another.

Specifically considering the move from Rugby League to Rugby Union and vice-versa, what have been the most prominent factors in athletes making this switch?

I can speculate that the financial benefits may be one of the key motivators but I'd like to learn of any hard statistics or research into this matter.

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    I will have a think about this one. When Union was amateur, money was clearly a motivation - now that particular drive is more in the other direction as Union is the more wealthy of the two Rugby codes. Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


Receiving big money contracts is certainly one of the benefits of switching codes. In the last ten years or so, players switching between codes have received multi-million dollar contracts for doing so, and before even playing a professional game in their "new" sport.

Most players though that have switched in recent years have reached the pinnacle of their player careers at a young age. For example, Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau both have won NRL premierships, various awards, and represented their state and country at the highest level. A change to codes that feature very similar skill sets, whether to rugby union or AFL, would bring about a new set of challengers for these elite sportsmen.

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