Robinson sure of keeping Suaalii despite Tedesco deal
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is confident their decision to re-sign James Tedesco through to 2025 won't discourage Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii from staying at the club.
Already one of the NRL's stars, the 19-year-old Suaalii has designs on playing fullback but will now have to postpone any long-term shift until at least 2026.
Earlier this month Suaalii signed a contract extension of his own to keep him at the Roosters until the end of 2024, the same year when the club's third potential fullback, Joey Manu, comes off contract.
But Suaalii and Manu may need to wait even longer than 2026 to make a long-term switch from the outside backs to the back of the park.
Tedesco will be 32 when his next contract expires and Robinson is intent on keeping him at the Roosters until retirement, which could be a few years after that.
"Ted's our captain, he's been our best player for five years and we want to make sure he finishes his career here," Robinson said.
Suaalii was an elite rugby prospect at the Kings School and has already attracted interest from Rugby Australia as a potential cross-code convert, never mind the attention he would command from NRL rivals on the open market.
But Robinson has been in close contact with Suaalii and he doesn't need convincing the young gun is committed to the Roosters despite the blockage in his path to fullback.
"I've definitely talked to Joe and it'll definitely stay between Joe and I," Robinson said.
"He's in a really good spot and he's obviously agreed for next year again so it's all positive there.
"There's absolutely no concern from my end about how that relationship plays out, how the signings have played out."
Speculation as to Suaalii and Tedesco's ability to exist on the same roster has dominated headlines ahead of Friday's grudge match with South Sydney.
Robinson has shrugged off the commentary, saying Tedesco's timely re-signing hadn't been influenced by outside noise.
"These conversations don't happen this week because of any external noise. They happen weeks and weeks ago, before the noise even starts," he said.
"It's created a lot of noise which is always quite funny because people build into something that is much more than what it is.
"It's quite simple, you have simple conversations between a couple of people and you play your footy. It's not that hard."