Charlotte Caslick could become Australia’s biggest cross-code star. Picture: Getty
Charlotte Caslick could become Australia’s biggest cross-code star. Picture: Getty

Sevens superstar eyes NRL code switch

A TWO-month detour with the Broncos for the NRL's inaugural women's premiership is one of the proposals being discussed in the code clash to decide the future of Olympic golden girl Charlotte Caslick.

The Courier-Mail understands the most luminous star of Australia's successful rugby sevens squad wants to thrash out a fresh deal with the world champions, but the lure of being part of league's new competition is also strong.

Brisbane-born Caslick, 23, was a childhood Broncos fan and brother Sam plays league for the Ipswich Jets in the Intrust Super Cup, after his own flip from rugby sevens.

Caslick's focus is on the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco on July 20-22, but the four-month break until the HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off a new season in Dubai in December leaves a tantalising opening.

The inaugural NRL format for the four women's teams is a quickie competition in September, which will run as curtain raisers to the men's NRL semi-finals and grand final.

Caslick is off-contract and it's believed the idea of her playing both codes has been floated to Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle in recent contract discussions.

 

Charlotte Caslick (C) with the World Sevens Series trophy. Picture: Getty
Charlotte Caslick (C) with the World Sevens Series trophy. Picture: Getty

If she were to join the NRL competition, it would be beside a number of players who missed the cut or were short-term figures in the professional rugby sevens program that she dominates from halfback with her speed, step, sharp passing and multiskilled game.

Women's rugby sevens has built a burgeoning following and Caslick is one of the profile faces worldwide with her pigtailed look that is copied by kids and elite players alike.

She has greater starpower than many Wallabies on far greater contracts, which is a major anomaly because there is a strong case to reward her as "a top rugby player", not just at the level of "Australia's top female player."

She has a private sponsorship deal with Land Rover to be an ambassador.

When her social media reach recently ticked by 100,000 followers on Instagram, it easily put leading Wallaby Will Genia (88,000) and Broncos trump Anthony Milford (78,000) in the shade.

There's no doubt Caslick's value as a perpetually upbeat symbol for rugby, even during the code's dark times in 2016-17, is not being rewarded at a high enough level.

 

Charlotte Caslick and fellow sevens star Emilee Cherry Picture: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley
Charlotte Caslick and fellow sevens star Emilee Cherry Picture: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

 

Playing just six World Series tournaments annually, and only one of those in Australia with the Sydney Sevens, means the shop front is somewhat limited outside an Olympics or Commonwealth Games year.

It's an issue that Castle and Rugby Australia have to sort out. Rugby Australia should create more to use Caslick's starpower.

If she is not poached, other girls in the rugby sevens program may well be tempted to cross codes in the future.

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