Robinson reveals Suaalii NRL game plan

·2-min read

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has detailed his NRL management plan for boom teenager Joseph Suaalii, revealing that he could be rested from games in his debut season.

The Roosters have been granted an exemption to select Suaalii before his 18th birthday on August 1 in a loosening of the NRL's long-standing age limit rule.

But Robinson isn't rushing to pick the talented centre, who scored a double in his first NSW Cup outing for feeder club North Sydney on Sunday.

"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."

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 suggested rotating out once every four games as a way to manage that workload and Robinson said it had been discussed.

"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 parents had been eager for their son to test himself at the top level.

"Definitely not (concerned); it was the opposite of that," he said.

"They've know him for 17 years and they know they've seen his development more than anybody else and they know he's determined and ready to play."