NRL great Laurie Daley has claimed the Roosters know they could lose prodigious talent Joseph Suaalii after the huge James Tedesco announcement. On Tuesday, Tedesco signed a one-year contract extension at the Sydney Roosters and will be at the club until at least the end of the 2025 season.
The Roosters are currently facing a tough situation with keeping 30-year-old Tedesco and 19-year-old phenom Suaalii both happy. Tedesco remains the premier fullback in the competition, but is in the back-half of his career.
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While Suaalii is only just beginning and the talented star wants to take over the fullback role in the near future. This saw him knock back lucrative offers from other clubs - and even interest from the Wallabies - to reportedly claim he wants to stay.
Suaalii has been heavily courted by Rugby Australia, who reportedly offered him a five-year, $10 million deal to switch codes. He recently extended his own deal with the Roosters until the end of 2024, leaving his options open.
Many see Suaalii as the long-term option at fullback, but it would be a tough call to move on Tedesco. And, according to Daley, the Roosters made their intentions clear when the club announced on Tuesday that Tedesco had extended his deal for one more year.
The former New South Wales Blues coach and Raiders great claimed by extending Tedesco's deal, it signalled the club could be aware they might lose Suaalii at some point. This will see rival clubs and Rugby Australia circling when his deal is nearing an end.
And Daley said the Roosters have played it safe with the prediction that Suaalii could leave the club in the near future. “I don’t think Suaalii will be there,” Daley said on Sky Sports Radio. “I think this is a sign that the Roosters think they’ll lose him as well.”
Veteran NRL reporter Danny Weidler agreed with Daley and said Suaalii's future could be harder to figure out. “Loz, I think you’re reading it pretty well," he said on the program.
“If you’ve got one of the best players in the game, it’s easier to lock him down for another year than it is to be assured about the future of Joseph in rugby league. I think that’s exactly how the Roosters would be thinking. I think it’s a smart move.”
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If Suaalii wants to play fullback for the Roosters it appears he will have to bide his time. Leading journalist Phil Rothfield said on Monday night on NRL 360: “At that time (2026) he will be 33 years of age. I presume that will be Teddy’s last year.
“It leaves the door open for Joseph Suaalii if he is prepared to remain patient to take over in that fullback jersey in 2026. But great news for the Roosters. I think they wanted to take the sting out of the story of the competition between two players and they have done that to a degree by extending Teddy today.”
Before the announcement, Tedesco was adamant the team can co-exist with a number of stars in the back-line. "One hundred per cent. I don't think anyone wants to leave the club. Especially myself, I want to stay for as long as I can," he said.
"Having guys like Suaalii and Joey Manu outside me, our spine is pretty dangerous for our team. And if we can get us all together playing for many years to come, I think it is really beneficial for the club."
Tedesco added: "Of course I want to finish my career here but there is no rush. I have two years left on my contract, I am happy with where I am at at the moment. I'm enjoying my career here so far at the Roosters."
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