The future of teenage rugby prodigy Joseph Suaalii has all but started a war between rival footy codes, after the 16-year-old reportedly inked a $3m deal with Rugby Australia.
Suaalii has long been tipped to be the next big thing in either league or rugby union, and South Sydney were fuming after the youngster backflipped on a $1.7m deal with the Rabbitohs in favour of his new deal with RA.
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A war of words has since erupted over Suaalii’s signature, with various pundits arguing over which code represented the brightest future for the up and coming player.
In a column for the Daily Telegraph, Tim Horan praised Rugby Australia for their recruitment of Suaalii, saying it was good to see the organisation not allow another promising player to ‘slip though’ the cracks and potentially never play in a World Cup.
“You never want a player like him to slip through like previous schoolboy players over the last five years,” Horan wrote.
“But just because Suaalii has rumoured to have knocked back $1.7 million for three years from the South Sydney Rabbitohs – that doesn’t automatically mean that Rugby Australia have offered more.”
Joseph Suaalii speculation continues
Rugby league writer Yvonne Sampson hit back at Horan’s suggestions when appearing on Big Sports Breakfast on Thursday, saying the speculation over the future of a 16-year-old was getting a bit much.
“Tim Horan has been saying that rugby offers more than just the cash,” she said.
“It’s the opportunity to play for the Wallabies and the prestige that goes along with that and travelling around the world.
You’d hate to put any more pressure on young Joseph Suaalii... but suffice to say not signing for South Sydney would be a monumental error he would unlikely to undo in 1000 lifetimes. https://t.co/OjVFUHBWRz— Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) July 23, 2020
“He had a bit of a dig at the NRL saying it’s better than running around in Wollongong or Campbelltown week in week out.
“I thought, you know, you can leave that bit out. In terms of career satisfaction, you’ve got to weigh up what makes you happy.
“Money is tight in the Suaalii family so you could never begrudge him taking money that would change his life and that of his family.
“It’s a huge conundrum for a 16-year-old to have.”