The Sydney Roosters have announced a surprise addition to their NRL Nines squad with Sydney Swans hero Nick Davis to make his rugby league debut.
The 39-year-old AFL premiership-winner grew up playing league in Cronulla until he was 16 when he was picked up by Collingwood under the father-son rule.
Davis currently works with the Swans, as well as the Roosters, and has been training since before Christmas to make the transition.
Although Davis, whose rugby league hero was Sharks legend Andrew Ettingshausen, is yet to do contact work.
“I can catch and pass, but I can kick more than anything and that’s what I’ll be relying on,” Davis said on Friday.
“I’ve always loved rugby league, growing up in Sydney it’s part of your DNA.
“There was a time there when I would have liked to play rugby league, but the family tradition in AFL was the thing that changed me in the end.”
Davis won a premiership with the Swans in 2005 and played 168 AFL games across his career with Sydney and Collingwood until he retired in 2008.
The code-switch is an historical first for the NRL – one that the Roosters hope will bring fresh eyes from the predominantly AFL-centric audience to the club during their Nines campaign in Perth next month.
According to coach Trent Robinson, only two or three players will play both the Nines and the World Club Challenge, which is in England just a week later.
The NRL premiers also won the last Nines tournament in Auckland in 2017.
“We want to respect both but I feel like we represent the NRL when we go and play the World Club Challenge,” Robinson said.
“We want to go over there and perform well and win that game.
“On the back of that, Nines will be every year and obviously we were really proud of the way we played last Nines.
“A lot of our kids came out of there, Joey Manu, Connor Watson and Latrell Mitchell. A lot of those guys came through that, so it’ll be very similar this year.
“We didn’t play Mitchell Pearce or Luke Keary on our last outing and we won’t be doing that (this time). We’ll be taking those guys to the World Club Challenge.”
The Roosters will depart for England on the Thursday before the Nines and face Super League premiers St Helens at Totally Wicked Stadium on February 22.