How a struggling Australian footballer changed his code and made his name in America

The loss of the NRL is now the NFL's gain as former rugby league prospect Jordan Mailata (pictured) will debut in the largest soccer competition in the United States this season.

The loss of the NRL is now the NFL's gain as a former rugby league prospect will debut in the biggest US soccer competition this season.

Jordan Mailata, 21, has overcome his first challenge by making the final list of 53 players for the 2018 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was only last year, as his new team marched towards championship glory, that Mailata received a $ 5,000 contract offer from South Sydney Rabbitohs of Russell Crowe to play for his reserve team, the North Sydney Bears.

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The loss of the NRL is now the NFL's gain as former rugby league prospect Jordan Mailata (pictured) will debut in the largest soccer competition in the United States this season.

The loss of the NRL is now the NFL's gain as former rugby league prospect Jordan Mailata (pictured) will debut in the largest soccer competition in the United States this season.

Jordan Mailata, 21, has overcome his first challenge by making the final list of 53 players for the 2018 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jordan Mailata, 21, has overcome his first challenge by making the final list of 53 players for the 2018 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jordan Mailata, 21, has overcome his first challenge by making the final list of 53 players for the 2018 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

He was told that if he could remove another 15 kg of his 157 kg frame and last more than 10 minutes at a time on the field, then the club would consider a full-time contract, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The implication was that Souths felt that the 203 cm tall eave was too big for the first level rugby league and would be vulnerable to the smaller players in later stages of the game.

"It was not a self-proclaimed label, it was what they told me, I had to put it on my chin and weigh the options, they wanted me to play second grade, and there were a lot of second grade contracts in different clubs," Mailata said.

Last year, the South Sydney Rabbitohs offered Mailata a $ 5000 contract to play for his feeder team, the North Sydney Bears (pictured with the family in training)

Last year, the South Sydney Rabbitohs offered Mailata a $ 5000 contract to play for his feeder team, the North Sydney Bears (pictured with the family in training)

Last year, the South Sydney Rabbitohs offered Mailata a $ 5000 contract to play for his feeder team, the North Sydney Bears (pictured with the family in training)

"Personally, I just wanted a full-time contract to develop myself, they wanted me to lose 15 kilos more and it was impossible because I had 10% body fat, that was not healthy at all.

When his rugby league prospects began to look sad, Mailata management put together a featured video to buy the huge player from potential rugby clubs.

However, the most prominent reel made its way into the desks of some NFL scouts.

"My agent knew some NFL people who ran this international program and I was lucky to get his attention," he told NFL Draft Live in April.

"They took me by plane to Los Angeles last November and I worked for them and I was lucky to participate in the program."

And then came the NFL 2018 draft in April, where he was selected in the 7th round by the Eagles as the 233rd overall pick, in a four-year contract worth $ 3.4 million.

"They took me by plane to Los Angeles last November and I worked for them and I was lucky to participate in the program," he said (parents are at the airport in the picture).

The NFL website had Mailata as a 50-50 prospect to make the NFL list, something he has now achieved with the Eagles.

The NFL website had Mailata as a 50-50 prospect to make the NFL list, something he has now achieved with the Eagles.

The NFL website had Mailata as a 50-50 prospect to make the NFL list, something he has now achieved with the Eagles.

The NFL website had Mailata as a 50-50 chance to make the NFL list, something he has now achieved with the Eagles.

He is set to play as a left tackle on the offensive line, an important position based on his coverage of the team's quarterback, and a position in which his frame is an important asset.

"Who would have known that a guy from Bankstown could go that far, you never know unless you try, it's surreal But I can not pinch because my hands are sore from training," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

AUSTRALIAN PLAYERS IN THE NFL

Adam Gotsis: Defensive end for the Denver Broncos

Lachlan Edwards: Punter for New Your Jets

Jordan Berry: Punter for Pittsburgh Steelers

Jordan Mailata: Offensive tackle for Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Dickson: Punter for Seattle Seahawks

Cam Johnstone: Punter for Philadelphia Eagles

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein analyzed Mailata for NFL.com.

"Mailata has never played a bad streak in American football, so trying to learn the tackle position and take it to the highest level makes this an extremely daunting challenge," he wrote.

"What Mailata has is a weird size and physical gifts with movement skills that give her a chance in a very challenging position."

Mailata also thanked South Sydney for offering him the opportunity to be part of the team and said that without them "I would not be here".

The first game of the season for the Eagles is against Atlanta Falcons on Friday morning EST, the team's final lineup has not yet been announced, but Mailata is expected to debut later in the season.

The Eagles recruited him knowing it would be a long-term prospect that would not rush into the depths, according to Philadelphia's Vice President of Football Operations, Howard Roseman.

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