For a 17-year-old who hasn’t tried a minute of first class, Suaalii caused the dispute between two of the league’s two heavyweight clubs.
It started as a cross-code war before it became clear the talented teenager wanted to play in the league.
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Then came other complications, notably the release clauses that would allow him to play seven rugby at the Tokyo Olympics.
It didn’t go well with the Rabbitohs, but the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Roosters are willing to accept the terms if they believe they have enough leverage to convince him once he joins the club.
The Roosters, along with the Melbourne Storm, were the culmination of consistent success in the NRL with a winning culture fueled by knowledgeable head coach Trent Robisnon.
Suaalii also found out what it’s like to play under Robinson right away after the Daily Telegraph reported that the Roosters had already reached out to NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to make the 17-year-old his round one debut in the next year to give.
It would be a vote of confidence from Robinson and Suaalii would likely be fighting for a place on the wing.
However, he could also come off the bench if the Roosters included him in his first NRL game.
Peter V’landys previously admitted that he could bend the age qualification rules if circumstances permit.
« There were a couple of reasons we put the age limit at 18 before you can play in the NRL, » said Gould on Channel Nines 100% Footy.
“One was to lower expectations of players, player managers and especially parents about how good their child is and how much money they should be making. The other thing was that we didn’t want players to be signed up by too young player managers.
« They ran and jumped the fences to sign every 15 year old who scores a try. It was just a bad look at the game. And when you have a bunch of kids up your sleeves and their hopes and dreams are sparking, when the chances that they will actually make it are so slim, you need to be realistic with these kids.
« I don’t want you to make an exception here [for Suaalii]. I don’t think changing yourself is a good rule. I really don’t. I think this is at odds with what we are trying to do to manage the expectations, the money for our development actors and the place they go.
« I know he’s an exceptional kid at this age, but other kids are catching up pretty quickly.
« It could be this child too, I just think it’s too much, too early. I just don’t like the way it looks and I just don’t like the feeling. You just have to be careful not to set a precedent that will come back and get us on our way. ”
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Sydney Roosters, National Rugby League, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Melbourne Storm
levelMagazine – AU – NRL transfers: Joseph Suaalii to Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, rumors, news