'Wrong decision': NRL world divided over 'bonkers' Joseph Suaalii ruling

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Joseph Suaalii (pictured right) celebrating with his teammates.
Joseph Suaalii (pictured right) made a successful senior debut for the North Sydney Bears on the weekend. (Getty Images)

The NRL has made an exception for the Roosters' 17-year-old prodigious talent Joseph Suaalii and granted him permission to play this year.

The 17-year-old will now be able to make his NRL debut before his 18th birthday after the ARL accepted the Roosters' application after several months of debate surrounding the youngsters availability.

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The NRL introduced a rule that young stars couldn't make their debut before turning 18 in order to protect them.

Cowboys star Jason Jason Taumalolo was the last player to debut before legally being an adult in 2010.

However Peter V'landys declared last year he would assess the rule on a case-by-case basis amid hype around Suaalii's future at South Sydney last year.

While it is unsure where Suaalii will slot into the Roosters' all-star backline, he could be the next in-line if there is an injury.

Regardless, the decision from the NRL divided fans.

Many believed the rule was introduced for a reason and exceptions shouldn't be made.

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Suaalii says he is ready for NRL debut

The 17-year-old centre scored a double in his NSW Cup debut on Sunday, backing up his two tries in his first trial against men last month.

It means the King's School year 12 student will juggle football with studies in 2021, after declaring a fortnight ago he thought he was ready.

"I'd be ready. As an athlete you kind of have to be, you want to be ready," he told AAP.

"I've got a lot of stuff that I need to work on before I get to that point.

"But if I do get a chance to make my debut, it would be a childhood dream to go and play for the Roosters and make my NRL debut."

with AAP

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