Joseph Suaalii's agent in eye-opening move amid dramas with James Tedesco
The much talked about contract situation at the Roosters has taken a massive new twist.
Joseph Suaalii's agent has added more weight to speculation his star client could be mulling a big-money switch to rugby union, when his contract with the NRL club comes to an end in 2024. Suaalii only recently signed an extension that will keep him at the Tri Colours until the end of the 2024 NRL season, with Roosters captain James Tedesco just last week extending his deal until the end of 2025.
The contract situation between Tedesco and Suaalii has dominated headlines recently, with a sense in the rugby league world that the Roosters would have to prioritise signing one player over the other. Suaalii, 19, is regarded as a future superstar of the game and it's understood Rugby Australia have been circling with what would be a massive contract offer if they were able to prise him away from rugby league.
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Fitting Suaalii, Tedesco and New Zealand international Joseph Manu under the salary cap is another question that has been posed for the Roosters. Suaalii has also made no secret of his desire to play in Tedesco's fullback position long-term, further complicating matters.
Suaalii's manager Isaac Moses has now poured more fuel onto the fire after reportedly renewing his accreditation with Rugby Australia (RA). Moses lost his accreditation with both RA and the NRL in the wake of the Parramatta Eels salary cap scandal.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Moses' bid to have his accreditation reinstated by RA has been approved, which some have viewed as a move centred around Suaalii's future. Moses has brushed off suggestions it has anything to do with the 19-year-old NRL star, and everything to do with the fact that he manages a number of Wallabies players.
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New Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has already expressed his public interest in bringing back some of the NRL's best and brightest players to the 15-a-side game. Players like Manly's Tolu Koula, Rabbitohs superstar Cam Murray and Suaalii all have rugby union pedigree having played for their respective high schools, and have been linked with big-money returns to the code.
League great Laurie Daley recently suggested that Tedesco's extension at the Roosters is a sign the NRL powerhouse is resigned to losing Suaalii when his deal expires at the end of the 2024 season. The Roosters are adamant they are fine with the 19-year-old signing rolling one-year extensions, rather than committing to the NRL club long-term.
“I don’t think Suaalii will be there,” Daley said about Suaalii on Sky Sports Radio after discussing Tedesco's extension at the Roosters. “I think this is a sign that the Roosters think they’ll lose him as well.”
The Roosters already have the NSW and Australia captain in the No.1 jersey, but Suaalii is the long-term option at fullback and widely regarded as the best prospect in the game right now. Tedesco and Suaalii were previously under contract until the end of 2024, but the Roosters announced on Tuesday that Tedesco had extended his deal for one more year.
The extension would appear to be Tedesco's final contract before he retires, which would see Suaalli take over the fullback role in 2026. “I’m proud to lead this club and I’ve enjoyed my career here at the Roosters so far," Tedesco said about his new deal. "We’re a close group and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the team we have here to add to the Roosters’ rich history."
Suaalii has been heavily courted by Rugby Australia, who reportedly offered him a five-year, $10 million deal to switch codes. Suaalii's recent extension with the Roosters until the end of 2024 leaves the centre's options open, with a home Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2027 no doubt an enticing carrot that Rugby Australia will try and lure him with.
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