Joseph Suaalii confirms he WILL join the Wallabies as Sydney Roosters superstar signs multi-million dollar deal with Rugby Australia in HUGE blow to the NRL
Joseph Suaalii has officially announced he will complete a sensational code switch at the end of 2024, leaving the NRL to sign a three-year deal with Rugby Australia.
The 19-year-old is set to become one of the biggest-paid rugby players in Australia after signing a deal worth $1.6million per season and is expected to be available to play for the Wallabies from the end of 2024.
His departure is a huge blow to the NRL and comes just months after new Australia boss Eddie Jones warned he would raid the code in an attempt some of its biggest stars to switch to rugby.
Rugby Australia confirmed the code switch in a brief statement on Saturday, revealing Sualii’s Super Rugby home will be the NSW Waratahs.
‘Rugby Australia (RA) and the NSW Waratahs today announced that they have signed Joseph Suaalii from October 2024 until at least the end of 2027,’ the statement said.
Joseph Suaalii has confirmed he will join the Wallabies at the end of 2024
The 19-year-old will leave the Roosters to join the NSW Waratahs in a huge blow to the NRL
‘Per RA policy, terms of the contract were not announced.’
Growing up in Penrith, Suaalii was a schoolboy rugby prodigy for The King’s School, representing the GPS 1st XV as well as NSW and Australian Schoolboys in Rugby Sevens.
He also played rugby for Penrith RSL, Eastwood and Northern Barbarians, before making his NRL debut for the Roosters aged 17 in 2021.
Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan commented: ‘Welcome back to Rugby, Joseph.’
After days of speculations over his future, the Roosters were informed by Suaalii he would not remain with the team beyond the end of his current deal, which expires in 2024.
‘The management of Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii have informed the Sydney Roosters that he will be departing the club at the end of his current contract term,’ a statement from the Roosters said.
‘Suaalii is contracted to the Roosters until the conclusion of the 2024 NRL season.’
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was adamant Suaalii will remain fully committed to the Tricolours for the next two seasons ahead of his switch.
‘Joseph has been transparent with the club and we respect his decision,’ he said.
‘He has made his commitment to the Roosters club for the next year and a half crystal clear, and we’re excited about the path we’re on.’
The superstar winger said: ‘The Sydney Roosters have been great to me and my family since I got here and the club is always going to be a big part of me.
‘There’s still a long way to go in my journey with the Roosters and my sole focus is on working hard every day to keep improving and performing my role for the team.’
The code switch will allow Suaalii to play for Australia against the British & Irish Lions in 2025, with a World Cup ahead in 2027.
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLellan (left) welcomed Suaalii’s return to rugby as a huge coup as it comes just two months after the Wallabies appointed Eddie Jones (middle) as coach
Jones (left) said he had played no role in convincing Suaalii to switch codes, but the teenager’s defection is a massive blow for NRL supremo Peter V’landys (right)
Suaalii’s move will be rugby’s biggest coup out of the NRL in two decades, after Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri all crossed codes in the early 2000s during Jones’ first stint in charge of the Wallabies.
The former England coach, however, insisted he had no role to play in convincing Suaalii to swap league for rugby.
‘I’ve got no idea mate,’ he told reporters on Friday.
‘I’m only worried about this World Cup.’
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