Wallabies’ young gun mulling NRL switch as Rebels’ future continues to cloud picture


Eight months after sensationally being taken to France by Eddie Jones as the Wallabies’ specialist fly-half for their World Cup campaign, Carter Gordon could be lost to Australian rugby.

Off contract at season’s end, The Roar understands that Gordon is open to a switch to the NRL.

It’s understood that several NRL clubs are interested in Gordon, including the Gold Coast Titans. But interest in the 23-year-old extends to south of the Tweed.

The Melbourne Storm could also one day be an option, with coach-in-waiting Jason Ryles working alongside Gordon at last year’s World Cup. Ryles was asked to jump on the Wallabies’ World Cup ticket hours after former attack coach Brad Davis resigned.

Gordon, picked ahead of Quade Cooper and Berard Foley for the RWC campaign by Eddie Jones, is still very much open to staying in Super Rugby, but he’s conscious of not being undervalued.

Carter Gordon featured at last year’s World Cup, but the 23-year-old could leave by the time Australia hosts the 2027 tournament. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Although Rugby Australia wants Gordon to stay, currently the cash-strapped governing body, who on Monday announced a $9.2 million deficit and revealed they had already used $50m of their $80m debt facility, are not in a position to break the bank, especially given how wide open the Wallabies No.10 position is under new head coach Joe Schmidt.

In one way that shows a new prudent side of RA, yet players and their agents are still perplexed at the mouthwatering sums some players have been offered to stay in rugby while others are told there simply is not the money to stretch national top-ups further.

Taniela Tupou’s multi-million dollar two-year deal was the first that saw eyebrows raised, but when Joseph Suaalii was offered roughly $5m over three years jaws dropped.

Even recently, Max Jorgensen’s two-year deal worth an estimated $1m to stay at the Waratahs saw several figures left baffled given the talented outside back has yet to pull on the Wallabies jersey and was plagued by injuries throughout his exciting debut season in 2023.

It’s understood Gordon was willing to stay at the Rebels, but the precarious nature of the Super Rugby club’s future has led to the talented playmaker, who could also play at inside centre and fullback, exploring his options.

Should the Rebels be culled by RA, it’s understood his preference would be to return to Queensland.

Carter Gordon has been one of the Rebels’ best over the past 24 months, but could he return to the Reds? (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Despite having Wallaby-in-waiting Tom Lynagh and Harry McLaughlin-Phillips at the franchise, it’s understood the Reds are open to welcoming the former Brisbane Boys’ College product back to Ballymore.

The Roar’s exclusive report that Hunter Paisami could join Jordan Petaia by leaving the Reds could also pave the way for RA being able to offer Gordon more money to stay in the game. The Reds, however, remain hopeful both Paisami and Petaia will remain at the club.

The Waratahs could also go after Gordon, especially with the national product desperate to see the NSW franchise rise up the standings after reaching the semi-finals of Super Rugby just once since 2015 – the year after they won their maiden title.

Should Gordon leave Australian rugby it would be another blow off the back of a horrendous World Cup campaign.

After failing to reach the knockout stages of the competition for the first time, it was hoped that Jones’ youngest squad at the 2023 tournament – and the youngest Wallabies team to go to a World Cup since 1991 – would benefit from the experience of playing on the world stage ahead of hosting the tournament in 2027.

Indeed, the experience of playing in front of hostile crowds, where the Wallabies and Jones were booed relentlessly, could help the squad ahead of showpiece events against the British and Irish Lions in 2025 and the home World Cup two years later.

But that experience could prove to be wasted unless Gordon stays put in Australian rugby.

A creditors’ meeting will be held on Friday to determine whether the Melbourne Rebels’ plan should be backed as recommended by an administrators report handed down last week.

Even if it is backed though, Rugby Australia could still decide not to hand the Rebels back their Super Rugby licence.

RA is expected to confirm its position on the Rebels’ future in May.

Should they attempt to wind up the Rebels, a battle in the courts is expected.

If that occurs, several players will be lost to Australian rugby.

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