Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has finally landed a major recruitment target with the capture of Frank-Paul Nuuausala from the Sydney Roosters.
The 27-year-old New Zealand Test prop has been granted an early release from the final year of his NRL contract with the Roosters to join the Raiders on a three-year deal.
It represents a watershed moment for Stuart, who has previously failed to lure several high-profile players to join his team which finished second-last in the 2014 premiership.
Tim Moltzen, Brett Stewart, Michael Ennis, Josh Mansour and Kevin Proctor have all reportedly knocked back offers to join the Raiders.
Young Wests Tigers star James Tedesco also left Stuart red-faced when he reneged on a three-year deal in June to stay with the Tigers.
The club has also lost several players since season’s end with Anthony Milford joining Brisbane, Terry Campese heading to England’s Super League and experienced prop Brett White retiring.
Stuart says landing Nuuausala, who played in the Roosters’ 2013 premiership triumph, is a big coup for the club.
“Frank-Paul is a wonderful player and we’re looking forward to him joining us and becoming part of the Raiders family,” the Raiders coach said.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said Nuuausala had grown into a leader during his time at the club and wished him well.
“It can never be under-estimated the important contribution Frank has made to the Roosters in his time here,” Robinson said.
Stuart’s raid of his former club might be followed with another, with reports claiming the Raiders are preparing a big-money offer for Nuuausala’s international teammate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
The hard-hitting prop is off-contract at the end of the 2015 campaign and Stuart has been linked with a multi-million dollar pitch to land the 25-year-old.