'Remarkable' demands leave Rabbitohs in stand-off with teen freak

Andrew Reid
·2-min read
Pictured here, Joseph Suaalii in action for the South Sydney Rabbitohs juniors.
The Rabbitohs are hoping to tie up teen freak Joseph Suaalii on a long-term deal. Pic: Getty

Joseph Suaalii is undoubtedly one of the hottest young prospects in Australian rugby league.

The Sydney teenager is yet to play an NRL game but has already been at the centre of a multi-million dollar tug-of-war between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Rugby Australia.

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While RA have distanced themselves from reports of a $3 million plan to poach Suaalii, the 17-year-old's freakish talent would be a dream for any side.

The Rabbitohs are desperately trying to lock up the prodigious talent long-term but their efforts are reportedly proving difficult.

Nine league reporter Danny Weidler says a number of extraordinary contract demands from the youngster are holding up proceedings.

Suaalii - who plays schoolboy rugby union for Sydney private school Kings - is contracted to the Rabbitohs for next season.

It's understood the player and club want to make it a long-term deal, but a series of clauses are complicating negotiations.

“What he wants is a five-year deal from the Rabbitohs, but he has rejected any approach in regards to that because he wants certain clauses in that in his favour," Weidler told Nine's 100% Footy.

“It’s a little bit complicated but he wants an upgraded deal for 2021, and then for 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025 to be at Souths.

“But 2022, 2023 and 2024 he wants get-out clauses in his favour.”

Extraordinary clauses holding up Suuallii deal

It's believed Suaalii had similar get-out clauses in discussions around a three-year rugby deal, with Weidler labelling the situation "remarkable".

“In rugby there’s apparently a three-year offer on the table for Joseph and in that situation he wants get-out clauses in years two and three,” Weidler said.

Joseph Suaalii is seen here with Wayne Bennett and John Sutton.
Joseph Suaalii with Wayne Bennett and John Sutton at South Sydney. Image: South Sydney Rabbitohs

“It’s quite a remarkable thing for a schoolboy to be looking at this.

“He’s an extremely talented player … is it too much?”

Nine commentator and Penrith Panthers supremo Phil Gould suggested that Souths would be mad to entertain such a proposal, insisting it would inevitably come back to bit them.

“It can only happen to the detriment of the club, you’re putting the club in a poor position,” Gould said.

“The player will only take up his option if he thinks he’s not worth the money. If he thinks he’s worth more he’ll put himself on the market and try for a release.”

Suaalii is contracted to Souths until the end of next season and under NRL rules is unable to play first grade until he turns 18.

It's understood the Rabbitohs are offering him $550,000 per season beyond 2021.