Melbourne Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu switches to rugby

Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu has jumped ship to rugby with Queensland Reds from 2021 Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu will switch over to rugby with Queensland Reds from 2021.

Vunivalu has signed a two-year deal with the Reds and Rugby Australia, the two parties confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

Vunivalu had earlier in the year been linked with a return to the game he played as a kid in New Zealand, his move following in the footsteps of former Storm winger Marika Koroibete.

"I was a rugby union player before switching to league and always thought going back to rugby was an option for my career and I never wanted to play for another NRL club," Vunivalu said in confirming his move.

"I'd hate to have to go up against Storm and my mates."

Reds coach Brad Thorn said he was excited about what Vunivalu would bring to what is already a promising Queensland squad.

"As a group we look forward to welcoming Suliasi Vunivalu back to rugby and to Queensland in 2021," Thorn said.

"Suliasi grew up playing Rugby in New Zealand before becoming one of the NRL's most exciting players.

"He's an impressive talent and has an awesome ability to find the try-line. He brings good experience too with almost 100 NRL games for Melbourne and 12 rugby league Tests for Fiji. Suliasi will be a great addition to our program."

While he has played rugby league for Fiji, Vunivalu would be eligible for the Wallabies from the outset of his contract given he has spent more than three years in Australia.

His arrival at Ballymore will bolster a talented backline division that already features boom Wallabies rookie Jordan Petaia and promising scrum-half Tate McDermott, while James O'Connor will return for his second stint with the franchise next season.

"This is a very good signing for Australian rugby and the Reds," RA director of Rugby Scott Johnson said.

"Suliasi was a standout schoolboy rugby player, he is an elite finisher with a lot of big game experience for a young man and will have an immediate impact for the Reds in 2021 and put himself right in the frame for higher honours.

"He is one player we have been looking at very closely this year with the skill-set we are looking for in the outside backs. He has been working in a great environment at the Storm and has chosen a future in rugby, so it is a great result for the game."