Joseph Suaalii confirms he will join the Wallabies when Sydney Roosters superstar signs multi-million dollar deal with Rugby Australia in a HUGE blow to the NRL
Joseph Suaalii has officially announced that he will complete a sensational code change by 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 Australia’s highest-paid rugby union players after signing a contract worth $1.6 million per season and is expected to be available to play for the Wallabies from the end of 2024. .
His departure is a major blow to the NRL and comes just months after Australia’s new boss Eddie Jones warned he would attack the code in an attempt to get some of its biggest stars to switch to rugby.
Rugby Australia confirmed the code change in a short statement on Saturday, revealing that Sualii’s Super Rugby home will be the NSW Waratahs.
“Rugby Australia (RA) and the NSW Waratahs announced today that they have signed Joseph Suaalii from October 2024 until at least the end of 2027,” the statement said.
Joseph Suaalii has confirmed that 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 major coup for the NRL
“Per RA policy, contract terms were not announced.”
Growing up in Penrith, Suaalii was a school rugby prodigy for The King’s School, representing the GPS 1st XV, as well as the 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 speculation about his future, Suaalii informed the Roosters that he would not remain with the team beyond the end of his current contract, which expires in 2024.
“Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii’s management have informed the Sydney Roosters that he will be leaving the club at the end of his current contract,” a Roosters statement said.
‘Suaalii is under contract with the Roosters until the conclusion of the 2024 NRL season.’
Roosters coach Trent Robinson insisted that Suaalii remain fully committed to the Tricolors for the next two seasons before his trade.
“Joseph has been transparent with the club and we respect his decision,” he said.
“He has made his commitment to the Roosters club very clear for the next year and a half, and we are excited about the path we are on.”
The superstar winger said: “The Sydney Roosters have been great to me and my family since I came here and the club will always be a big part of me.”
“There is still a long way to go in my journey with the Roosters and my only goal is to work hard every day to continue to improve and play my part in the team.”
The code change will allow Suaalii to play for Australia against the British & Irish Lions in 2025, with a World Cup to go in 2027.
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLellan (left) welcomed Suaalii’s return to rugby as a major coup, coming just two months after the Wallabies appointed Eddie Jones (centre) as manager.
Jones (left) said he had played no role in convincing Suaalii to switch codes, but the teenager’s defection is a blow to NRL supremo Peter V’landys (right).
Suaalii’s move will be the biggest NRL rugby coup in two decades, after Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri code-crossed in the early 2000s during Jones’ first spell in charge of the Wallabies.
However, the former England manager insisted he had no role to play in convincing Suaalii to switch from league to rugby.
“I have no idea mate,” he told reporters on Friday.
“I’m just worried about this World Cup.”