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Wallabies still in with a chance for Suaali'i long term as Roosters star makes crucial call on contract

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6th March, 2023
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Roosters teen prodigy Joseph Suaali’i is set to stay next season but the club still has a fight on its hands to keep the young talent from heading elsewhere with Rugby Australia keen to get him into Wallabies colours.

Suaali’i intends to take up the option in his contract for 2024 with the Roosters as part of the four-year deal he signed after switching from South Sydney’s junior ranks, according to a NewsCorp report.

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has identified the former schoolboy rugby star as one of his priority signings targets in the lead-up to the 2025 British & Irish Lions tour and the World Cup two years later. He would have loved to have convinced him to cross codes next year but will have to wait at least another 12 months.

The 19-year-old began his NRL career on the wing at the Roosters and is being used in the centres this year but wants to become a fullback.

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However, his path to his preferred position is blocked at the Roosters by their captain, James Tedesco, the incumbent NSW and Australian custodian so rival NRL clubs and Rugby Australia can offer the prospect of playing fullback on top of a multimillion-dollar contract offer to tempt him away from the Tricolours.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Joseph Suaalii smiles during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake on March 29, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Roosters have also signed Newcastle winger Dominic Young for next season so Suaali’i’s decision to stay could have ramifications for veteran Daniel Tupou, who is off contract and could be squeezed out of the club’s star-studded backline.

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Suaali’i, who represented Samoa at last year’s World Cup, scored a try for the Roosters in the Round 1 upset loss to the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

He has crossed the stripe 17 times in just 25 NRL appearances after making his debut as a 17-year-old in 2021 when the Roosters received special dispensation to alllow him to play before he had reached the minimum age limit.

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