Joseph Suaalii deal 'could be scrapped' amid Rugby Australia chief's ousting

The axing of Rugby Australia's chairman could see the Roosters star stay in the NRL.

Pictured Joseph Suaalii and Hamish McLennan
Joseph Suaalii’s $5 million contract with Rugby Australia could be scrapped amid claims he has promised Roosters chiefs he will return after the deal expires. Image: Getty

Rumours are swirling that Joseph Suaalii's deal with Rugby Australia could be scrapped after he reportedly promised Roosters chiefs that he would return to the Tricolours when his contract expires. The extraordinary claim comes as a late-night board meeting led to the dismissal of Rugby Australia (RA) chairman Hamish McLennan on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, McLennan vowed to fight to hold onto his position despite six member unions demanding his resignation but an emergency board meeting saw him sacked with World Cup-winning Wallaby Daniel Herbert named as his replacement. Suaalii’s $5 million contract with RA could be no longer after Nick Politis revealed he would be back in Roosters colours in 2028.

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It has also been reported by Sydney Morning Herald that rugby powerbrokers are getting "cold feet" and are unsure where his salary worth more than $1.5 million per season was going to be pulled from. RA CEO Phil Waugh recently stated that the days of big-money raids on the NRL were over, promising to deliver a more sustainable future for the footy code in Australia. Waugh - who only took over as RA chief executive in June after Suaalii's big-money move had already been signed off on - promised that similar eye-watering raids on the 13-man code would be a thing of the past.

He says the 15-man game needs to get its finances in better order and start focusing on developing and nurturing talent from within its own stocks, as well as attracting new players to the sport. "I keep talking about being fiscally responsible because the game historically has spent more than we can afford," Waugh said. "Which is why then I come back to what's the environment that we're creating to attract players? So it's not just all about money. You don't want to be attracting people just because of the money and then you don't have the environment sorted out."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Joseph Suaalii of the Roosters scores a try, which was then disallowed by the video bunk during the NRL Elimination Final match between Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters at PointsBet Stadium on September 09, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Nick Politis claims Suaalii has already given his assurances that he would return to the Tri Colours in 2028 after his three-year union deal comes to an end. Image: Getty

Nick Politis says Suaalii will return to Roosters in 2028

Billionaire Roosters supremo Nick Politis claims Suaalii has already given his assurances that he would return to the Tri Colours in 2028 after his three-year union deal comes to an end. The Roosters are also reportedly interested in Wallabies pair Mark Nawaqanitawase and Max Jorgensen, in what may be viewed as Politis getting even with RA for poaching Suaalii.

Politis and the Roosters were understood to be angry with the way Suaalii and his agent Isaac Moses negotiated his rugby contract, however, it is reportedly water under the bridge. The young gun recently is said to have sat down for a chat with coach Trent Robinson and after a heart-to-heart, Suaalii reportedly said he regretted how the deal unfolded.

The Roosters chief claims since then Suaalii has assured the club that once his deal with RA is complete, he will return to the Tricolours. “It’s sad that we’ve lost him to union, but he tells us he’s coming back in 2028,” Politis recently told Channel 9.

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