Ex-wallaby fuels Suaalii pursuit, RA’s big concern as NRL star’s ties to rugby tighten
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Rugby Australia are reportedly nearing a deal to bring NRL and State of Origin star Joseph Suaalii back to the game he excelled at as a schoolboy.
While the roar understands that no deal has been signed at the time of writing, multiple reports on Friday suggested the Roosters youngster was close to agreeing a deal.
Suaalii is seen as a potential game changer for the XV-Man code and a player who can become the face of the game as the British and Irish Lions tour Down Under in 2025 and Australia advance to a home World Cup in 2027.
There are serious concerns at a senior level that media reports could be a case of brinkmanship and that Rugby Australia could yet miss out on an improved offer from the Roosters and their influential boss, Nick Politis. Suaalii recently signed a one-year extension with the Roosters through the end of 2024.
Mat Rogers, a high-profile rugby league convert who played for Eddie Jones’ Wallabies at the 2003 World Cup, urged RA to go through with the deal, saying the reported figures of $1 million per season were too low.
“I don’t think so, an offer [of $1 million] is enough,” Rogers told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He would make more money playing rugby. There is no doubt he would be a phenomenal rugby player. I’m telling you it will get people watching the game. You need it urgently. You can’t be stupid but Rugby has to pay him what he wants to get him there. The game really suffers.
“He’s an absolute superstar and he’s only going to get better. He’s 19. He’s getting stronger and faster. He will dominate the rugby league or rugby union landscape for the next 10 years. If I were him, I would stay in the league a little longer and establish myself as the dominant force in the game. Then I’d go over when you’re years old.”
Jones chose to avoid the subject on Friday when asked about Suaalii.
“The only thing I’m worried about is this World Cup,” Jones said, putting on his poker face. “I have no post-October 28 thought pattern, zero, and I can’t afford it.”
A senior rugby source told The Roar the deal was “in balance” on Monday and rumors have been swirling ever since.
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/03/24/they-desperately-need-it-ex-wallaby-pushes-suaalii-chase-as-nrl-stars-links-to-rugby-firm-up/ Ex-wallaby fuels Suaalii pursuit, RA's big concern as NRL star's ties to rugby tighten