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A secret contract clause could see the Wallabies POACH Joseph Suaalii from the NRL

A secret contract clause could lead to the NRL’s Wallabies Joseph Suaalii and Sydney Roosters playing Rugby World Cup on Australian soil

  • Suaalii was heavily attacked by Rugby Australia two years ago when he was 17
  • With a World Cup on Australian soil on the way, a new poaching begins
  • A number of NRL players, including Suaalii and Matt Burton, will be targeted
  • An escape clause in Suaalii’s contract could mean Rugby Australia is successful

Rugby Australia has previously tried to lure teenage superstar Joseph Suaalii, but a new warchest and an escape clause in his NRL contract could make the Sydney Roosters winger a Wallaby in the near future.

While Rugby Australia is firmly focused on the 2023 World Cup to be held in France, there is also one eye on preparing for the 2027 World Cup to be held on Australian soil.

Sualli has shown a lot of positive development in the NRL and was selected in Brad Fittler's New South Wales Blues roster in his second year in first class.

Sualli has shown a lot of positive development in the NRL and was selected in Brad Fittler’s New South Wales Blues roster in his second year in first class.

Suaalii was in high demand two years ago, with Rugby Australia alongside NRL clubs Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs battling it out for his services.

The story of tape shows the Roosters would win the tug-of-war for Suaalii, but Rugby Australia was in a financial black hole at the time unaided by Covid.

This time, Rugby Australia has more finances to dive into and the dangling carrot of a World Cup at home – which last time Australia hosted a World Cup in 2003, lured the likes of Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuquiri away from the NRL.

Before competing, Suaalii was a rising high school rugby star in high demand

Before competing, Suaalii was a rising high school rugby star in high demand

What makes this push from Rugby Australia even more interesting is the fact that Suallii reportedly has an escape clause in his Roosters contract that allows him to change his code.

Suaalii was a promising talent for rugby schoolboys before being signed by the Rabbitohs while still in high school and Rugby Australia heavyweights believe he would make the transition easy.

While Rugby Australia plans an attack on the NRL ranks to secure a number of players – including targeting Bulldogs and NSW center Matt Burton – Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said Suaalii was their number 1 target.

“We were sad to lose Joseph to the league, but there is an incredible path to the 2027 Rugby World Cup, if he and others want it,” said McLennan.

“We need to close the private equity deal, get some money in the bank, but yeah, we’re definitely going to target the Premier League stars.”

Whether Rugby Australia manages to land their man will be up to Sualli himself.

The 19-year-old wants to play fullback but is stuck behind Australian incumbent James Tedesco and Kiwi superstar Joey Manu. However, he remains loyal to the Chooks and may be difficult to dislodge.

Former NRL players Lote Tuquiri and Wendell Sailor jumped codes for the chance to play at a Rugby World Cup on Australian soil

Former NRL players Lote Tuquiri and Wendell Sailor jumped codes for the chance to play at a Rugby World Cup on Australian soil

“I’m happy to do anything for the team, whether it’s on the wing, the center, the fullback or even the five-eighth – I play everywhere,” Suaalii said a week ago.

“I’m behind two of the best fullbacks in the game with Tedesco and Joey so it will be difficult to play fullback.”

But when asked about the prospect of switching clubs to play fullback, Suaalii replied: ‘I love it here, and if I could I would be here forever – I love this club.’

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