Wallabies legend David Campese smashes Rugby Australia for throwing millions at Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii – as it is revealed the union could have kept the stars for just $100,000 a year
- Roosters star will exchange symbols in 2025
- I originally started in rugby
- It could have been kept much cheaper
Wallabies icon David Campese is furious over the $4.8m cash on NRL winger Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii and the negative impact it will have on youth rugby in Australia.
Rugby Australia confirmed on Saturday that the Sydney Roosters star will move up to the 17-man code when his current contract expires at the end of 2024.
He was signed for a whopping $1.6 million a season to play for the New South Wales Warataxes and Wallabies, even though he started in the junior rugby system initially.
News Corp revealed that Suaalii’s agent took an offer to the powerhouse rugby brokers in 2018 that would have locked the young star up for three years for just $100,000 a season.
This offer was rejected and rugby were now forced to pay large sums for a player who Campese believed should have been kept in the first place.
Suaalii was involved in the multi-million dollar tug-of-war between the NRL and Rugby Australia and eventually chose to switch codes to play for the Wallabies
Former Australian winger David Campese (pictured in the 1991 Rugby Union World Cup Final) is furious with the board for missing out on the chance to lock Suaalii on a cheap deal.
“Think of what rugby union can do on the tracks with the money they’re spending on one player,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
This is why we have been losing our kids to rugby league for years… There was no investment in juniors.
“They say Suaalii will get close to $5 million over three years — imagine what you can do in small development and schools with that kind of money.”
Campese wants to see more investment in the juniors, snapping up promising young talent with deals such as a $100,000 offer from Suaalii’s agent that rugby officials initially rejected.
“If we had the proper systems, players like Joseph would have been in the federation in the first place,” Campese said.
“Now we are spending all the money to bring him back.
This is why we have been exposed to NRL clubs. There is no money for rugby union kids.
‘Why don’t we take care of ourselves?’
“If you don’t have the foundations, you can’t build a house.”
Eddie Jones has made no secret of his desire to increase the existing Wallabies stock with talented NRL players in his second coming as coach
Campese (pictured celebrating with Matt Giteau after the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals) says the union’s young players will have every right to delay the Suaalii deal
Campese is also concerned about the impact Suali’s signing will have on young rugby players emerging from the ranks with ambitions to play in the World Cup.
“I heard he’s a very good player,” he said.
But how does Max Jorgensen feel? How do the other best young players feel?
It comes after NRL analyst and Bulldogs president Phil Gould told the young star he should leave the game effective immediately.
Go now. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.
Sydney Roosters teammate Brandon Smith also made a cheeky comment after Suaalii’s announcement.
“$1.6 million could have been better spent on grassroots rugby than capturing our sweet young Suaalii … a $1.6 million winger from the Roosters won’t help (The Wallabies) beat the All Blacks”, he said.