Joseph Suaalii under fire for 'dangerous' act at Rugby League World Cup

This image on the right shows Samoa's Joseph Suaalii leading with his knees into a tackle from Tonga forward, Felise Kaufusi.
Samoa's Joseph Suaalii was placed on report for raising his knees into the head of Tonga forward, Felise Kaufusi. Pic: AAP/Fox Sports

Samoa star Joseph Suaalii has been called out by viewers after being placed on report for a dangerous act in his side's thrilling Rugby League World Cup quarter-final victory over Tonga.

The 19-year-old played a starring role in Samoa's heart-stopping 20-18 win in Warrington, which set up a semi-final showdown with England and a chance to atone for their 60-6 flogging by the hosts in the opening game of the tournament.

'SPINE-TINGLING': Samoa and Tonga square off in stirring scenes

'POOR': Mal Meninga defends Kangaroos after World Cup criticism

'UNFAIR': Aussies in ugly furore at women's Rugby League World Cup

However, Suaalii will be nervously waiting to find out his punishment after being placed on report for lifting his knees during a questionable incident involving Tonga forward Felise Kaufusi.

Suaalii has been previously warned about his running style while playing for the Roosters in the NRL, with the teen superstar having raised his knees into an oncoming tackler, on a number of occasions now.

The Roosters star was hit with an $1800 fine for leading with his knees into a tackle by Souths forward Mark Nicholls, during the infamous round 25 clash in the NRL that saw seven players sin-binned.

Prior to that, he'd also been warned without sanction over a similar incident involving Wests Tigers tackler Fa’amanu Brown, in the Roosters' round 23 clash against the wooden spooners.

Again in the last-eight clash with Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup in England, Suaalii found himself in hot water after his raised knees made contact with the head of Storm enforcer, Kaufusi.

Suaalii braced for the contact by Kaufusi by lifting his right leg in an unusually high position, with his knee ultimately making contact with the Tongan's head as he went in for the tackle.

Rugby league fans were quick to criticise Suaalii on social media, with many insisting that Roosters coach Trent Robinson needs to have a word with his teen superstar to try and stamp out the "dangerous" running technique from his game.

Joseph Suaalii stars in famous Samoa win

Suaalii has been billed as a future fullback for the Roosters and in Samoa's narrow World Cup win over Tonga he proved why that talk was merited.

The 19-year-old was overlooked as man of the match but would have been deserving of the award after Samoa's tense two-point triumph booked a revenge date with England in the last-four.

It was Suaalii's jinking run from the halfway line in the second half where he brushed off five Tongans, allowing Brian To'o to score on the next play which put Samoa in the box seat.

"He's a freak, there's no doubt about that. He's building and he's only going to get better, the sky's the limit for him," Samoa five-eighth Anthony Milford said.

Suaalii has not been afforded the opportunity to play at fullback at club level with New South Wales and Australia skipper James Tedesco ahead of him, plus Joey Manu the other exceptional understudy to the Roosters No.1.

The teen's form was so good this season that Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga sounded him out to play for Australia, but Suaalii opted for Samoa and the chance to play fullback.

Seen here, Samoa's Joseph Suaali’i breaking clear of the Tongan defence during his side's Rugby League World Cup quarter-final triumph.
Samoa's Joseph Suaali’i breaks clear of the Tongan defence during his side's Rugby League World Cup quarter-final triumph. Pic: Getty

In Samoa's first real test since their opening loss of the tournament when they were thumped by the English, Suaalii led the charge against the Tongans.

He clocked more than 200 metres from the backfield as they secured their passage to a maiden semi-final berth.

"He's got a remarkable career ahead of him if he can stay injury free and he's got all the tools and the drive and he has got his head screwed on," Samoa coach Matt Parish said.

"He's enjoying the ride, he's a pretty good No.1 but he would be good in any position you put him in. To think he's been a part of this, I'm pleased for him because he could've chosen to play for Australia."

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.