Joseph Suaalii facing the axe at Sydney Roosters amid fresh blow for Dom Young

Brandon Smith believes Joseph Suaalii will drop out of the side when Dom Young is fit and healthy.

Pictured left Joseph Suaalii and right Dom Young
Roosters hooker Brandon Smith believes rugby union bound Joseph Suaalii will drop out of the starting side when Dom Young returns to the team. Image: Getty/AAP

Sydney Roosters hooker Brandon Smith believes rugby union-bound Joseph Suaalii won't make the Tri Colours' starting team when the roster is fully fit. The Roosters star says if Dom Young was right to play in round one, Suaalii wouldn't be selected in the run-on side.

Young was the victim of a crusher tackle in the Roosters' trial against Manly and was taken from Central Coast Stadium by ambulance in a neck brace. Fortunately, the Englishman has been cleared of any long-term injury, however despite travelling with the side to the US, he has been ruled out of the Roosters' Las Vegas clash as a precaution, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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Young is expected to be one of the Roosters' starting wingers after being signed from the Newcastle Knights. He scored 25 tries for the Knights last year and is anticipated to be back in the team for their round two match against Manly.

Competition for places in the Roosters' backline is stiff. James Tedesco will start at fullback, while Daniel Tupou and Young seemingly have the spots on the wing locked down. That leaves Joey Manu, Billy Smith and Suaalii to fill the two centre positions and the Roosters hooker believes the player to miss out will be Suaalii.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: Billy Smith of the Roosters receives the Artie Beetson Medal after winning  the round 24 NRL match between Sydney Roosters and Dolphins at Allianz Stadium on August 12, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)
Billy Smith has seemingly secured his spot in the side in the centres and the signing of Dom Young looks set to push Joseph Suaalii out of the starting team. Image: Getty (Jeremy Ng via Getty Images)

"I think he (Young) tore three ligaments in his neck... very unfortunate for him," Brandon Smith said on The Bye Round podcast. "I think he's out and Suaalii’s in. Billy Smith, Joey Manu, Tupou and then Suaalii,” he said.

Just a few years ago the Roosters were trying to fit Suaalii into the team any way possible but as he gears up to play his last season at the Tri Colours for the foreseeable future, he appears to be on the outer. Suaalii has a $5 million contract with Rugby Australia from next year and his shock code switch is said to have angered Roosters boss Nick Politis and coach Trent Robinson.

The pair were understood to be angry with the way Suaalii and his agent Isaac Moses negotiated his switch to rugby union. In the off-season, the young gun reportedly had a sit down with Robinson and after a heart-to-heart, Suaalii reportedly said he regretted how the deal unfolded.

James Tedesco applauds Dominic Young's toughness

Tedesco has sung the praises of new recruit Young for how tough and resilient he has been following his recent neck injury. "It's disappointing (Young won't play in Vegas), he's been really exciting over the pre-season," Tedesco said. "He just really wants his hands on the ball and can score tries and make something out of nothing with his feet.

"I've been really impressed with how he carries the ball, he doesn't shy away from the tough stuff. That's what us at the Roosters are all about, taking those tough carries and getting us out of trouble and he does a really good job of that. I don't think it's as bad as first thought … so hopefully he'll be right for round two."

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