Wallaby Maddocks set to sign new deal with Waratahs

There has been a significant player drain at NSW in recent times and whatever side runs out at the beginning of next year will be completely different to the one which took the field in 2019 at the end of Daryl Gibson’s time in charge.

The Waratahs have invested heavily in youth but struggled to retain senior figures or attract others to the franchise in the current climate.

There has been no shortage of uncertainty regarding next year, largely due to the fact Rugby Australia has not finalised a broadcast deal, meaning NSW do not know how much they money they will have at their disposal to pay its footballers.

Maddocks, who left NSW to begin his Super Rugby career at the Melbourne Rebels, returned home earlier this year and has been one of the Waratahs’ best in Super Rugby AU.

He has has done well at fullback in the absence of Kurtley Beale and will push for a Wallabies jersey later this year.

Maddocks played eight Tests in 2018 yet was overlooked last year and at the World Cup despite travelling to Japan with the team before the tournament began.


On top of Beale, who left before Super Rugby AU, the Waratahs will next year be without incumbent captain Rob Simmons, Tom Robertson, as well as Michael Hooper for the majority of the season, given the Wallabies skipper has been granted a sabbatical in Japan.

Last week NSW re-signed No.10 Will Harrison on a three-year deal but there are a number of senior players, such as Jack Dempsey and Karmichael Hunt, whose futures still need to be sorted.

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Wallabies Jack Maddocks, Tom Robertson, Joe Powell in talks with LA Giltinis

A depressed domestic player market seems a certain outcome, but even getting to that point could be a rocky process.

The current 60 per cent agreement is valid until the end of September but must be re-negotiated as soon as RA secures a deal with Foxtel on what the broadcaster will pay for the shortened competition. The deal will have to be re-negotiated again once RA secures a broadcast partner for 2021 and beyond.

Incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

Incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie. Credit:AAP

Another potential flash point is the subject of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s salary, which has so far been left intact.

Interim boss Rob Clarke said this week that Rennie’s rumoured $1 million a year package would not be touched, despite the player pay cuts, head office slashing 40 per cent of its head count and Clarke foreshadowing cuts to Super Rugby clubs as the razor gang’s next target.

Rennie’s contract does not start until July but Clarke has ruffled feathers among players by cordoning off the Wallabies high performance program from the cutbacks, which also includes director of Scott Johnson and Rennie’s assistants.

Meanwhile, the United States is continuing to emerge as a genuine market for top Australian talent. The Venice Beach-based Giltinis, owned by Australia’s F45 founder Adam Gilchrist, last week unveiled former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles and Gordon first grade coach Darren Coleman as club coaches.

There’s uncertainty around what 2021 looks like and that’s adding pressure too.

NSW Rugby general manager Tim Rapp

The pair will not join the club until November but they are not wasting any time on recruitment, reaching out to a number of off-contract Australian stars about a potential move to the United States.

The club confirmed their interest in Test-capped trio Robertson, Maddocks and Powell, but said there was no rush to ink deals, with the next MLR season not getting underway until February.

All three are off contract with their Super Rugby clubs and face uncertain futures at Test level. They all missed the cut for Rennie’s “players of national interest” squad in April, while Powell has not been offered a contract for next year, with the Brumbies preparing to welcome back Nic White and investing in up and comer Ryan Lonergan.


The Waratahs, however, are desperate to keep Maddocks and Robertson, with the former a natural replacement for the departing fullback Kurtley Beale and injury-plagued Robertson considered key to NSW fielding a stronger front row next season.

“They’re two guys in their early 20s who’ve had brushes with the Wallabies,” NSW rugby general manager Tim Rapp said.

“They’re home grown talents and we definitely want to keep them, because we consider them part of a long term strategy for success for NSW.

“The reality is there’s an American team going ahead with some Australian support staff.

“We speak to all of our blokes who are off contract and it’s natural that people are going to want them because they’re bloody good players. On top of that there’s uncertainty around what 2021 looks like and that’s adding pressure too.”

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