Suaalii shines as Samoa's star fullback

Joseph Suaalii has been billed as a future fullback for the Sydney 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 20-18 win in Warrington which booked a semi-final meeting with England.

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," five-eighth Anthony Milford said.

"He's building and he's only going to get better, the sky's the limit for him."

The only concern for the flying No.1 was that he was placed on report for running into contact with his knees raised and hitting the head of Tonga forward Felise Kaufusi.

He was given a caution by the NRL earlier this year over his running style.

Suaalii has not been afforded the opportunity to play at fullback at club level with James Tedesco and Joey Manu ahead of him.

His 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.

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

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."