The hottest talent in rugby league, Joseph Aukuso Suaalii has for months been weighing up rich contract offers with reports the Rabbitohs and a potential code switch to play for the Wallabies were very real options on the table.
However, it emerged Monday, the star winger has agreed to activate a clause in his contract that will see him play with the Roosters through to the end of the 2024 season.
The Roosters have pulled off yet another huge recruitment coup with young gun Joseph Suaalii reported to have broken the news to Roosters supremo Nick Politis and coach Trent Robinson prior to their Round 1 clash in the weekend.
The one-year extension means Suaalii will again be a free agent at the end of the year.
His decision is a bitter blow for the Rabbitohs and Rugby Australia with both parties reportedly putting massive contract offers on the table.
Suaalii was earmarked as one of Eddie Jones’ top Wallabies targets after the former England boss took over the rugby union role in January.
It is understood Sualii could have earned upwards of $1 million a year to play for the Wallabies, dwarfing his reported $750,000 salary at the Roosters.
Channel 9’s Danny Weidler reported the offer from the Rabbitohs was worth $2 million more than what the Roosters had offered. The three-year offer is reported to have been worth $2.9 million.
According to Weidler, South Sydney prepared to offer Suaalii “$880k for 2024, $900k for 2025 and $1m for 2026” if Latrell Mitchell opted against re-signing.
Weidler said “his relationship with Nick Politis is clearly very strong” after knocking back lucrative offers elsewhere.
Suallii played for the Rabbitohs’ junior system before he made the cross-town switch in 2020 to the Roosters where he cemented himself as an NRL star.
The Roosters are said to be aiming to table a long-term deal before Sualii’s contract runs out at the end of 2024.
Suaalii is reportedly aiming to play fullback in the NRL and James Tedesco’s contract also runs out at the end of 2024.
The Toa Samoa star who was bestowed two matai titles last year from the villages of Letogo and Satitoa, made his NRL debut as a 17-year-old in 2021.
After his epic performace with the Toa Samoa at the World Cup, he was bestowed the To’oto’ooalii title from Letogo and the Anavaotaua title from Satitoa.
Suaalii described the love he received in Samoa as “overwhelming, but surreal” as he took up a matai titles from each of his mom and dad’s families.
Growing up in Sydney’s west, Suaalii was a natural at many sports, including league, union and athletics.
After attending The King’s School, Suaalii eventually chose league as his path.
His aerial prowess and ability to find the try line has the Australia Rugby Union desperate to secure his services long term – but for now the youngster is happy to learn each day at NRL level, training alongside the likes of James Tedesco, Brandon Smith and Joey Manu.