Roosters reveal Joseph Suaalii plan amid backlash

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
Joseph Suaalii (pictured right) celebrating after a try.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he won't rush Joseph Suaalii (pictured right) into first grade. (Getty Images)

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has revealed Joseph Suaalii won't be rushed into first grade after the NRL granted him permission to make his debut before his 18th birthday.

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.

Despite many fans not happy the NRL allowed the 17-year-old the opportunity to make his first grade debut, Robinson said he wasn't going to rush the prodigious teen into the line-up.

"I've been quite transparent with the NRL about my plan," Robinson said.

"We're not going to play him before he's ready, so it's about playing him in reserve grade and I thought he excelled in the trial but needed to physically nail the game.

"He did better again on the weekend and he needs to keep turning up against different reserve grade teams and keep the physicality continuing in his game."

Graham offers Suaalii advice

Wade Graham was one of the last players to make their NRL debut before the introduction of the age-limit rule when selected by Penrith at five-eighth for the first match of the 2008 season.

At 97kg, Suaalii is bigger than Graham was but has been warned by the now-Cronulla captain that the demands of weekly NRL clashes will take their toll.

Graham offered his advice and said a strategy to rotate Suaalii in and out of the line-up when he is introduced should be considered.

A strategy Robinson has discussed with his coaching staff.

"Wade obviously played at a very young age as well, so he knows and yeah so that's, that's exactly what we're going to be doing," the coach said.

Robinson said Suaalii's family were eager to see the 17-year-old make his NRL debut.

with AAP

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