Rugby launch crackdown on NRL stars with Joseph Suaalii to be offered $10m over five years

Rugby union embarks on a stunning heist on the NRL’s biggest stars, with Rooster Joseph Suaalii being offered ‘a whopping $10 MILLION over five years’ – so is your club on the hit list?

  • NRL young gun Joseph Suaalii could be poached by a determined Rugby Australia
  • The 19-year-old Roosters star could be offered a staggering $10 million deal
  • Other NRL stars Cameron Murray and Tom Trbojevic are also on RA’s ambitious hit list

Rugby Australia are ready to offer rising NRL star Joseph Suaalii a staggering $10m five-year deal.

The Roosters winger, 19, is the dynamic player aspiring RA officials covet more than anyone – with fellow NRL players Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Matt Burton and Nelson Asofa-Solomona said to be too to target.

Suaalii, who is out of contract in 2024, played rugby at King’s School as a youngster and was in the first XV aged just 14 while also being in the Rabbitohs’ books.

He joined the Souths’ arch-rivals last year amid plenty of hype – and the youngster has delivered on the wing for Trent Robinson this season.

His form has been so impressive that he is being traded as a bolter for Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos squad ahead of the World Cup in Britain later this year.

Rugby Australia could offer rising NRL star Joseph Suaalii (pictured centre) a staggering $10m five-year deal

Rugby Australia could offer rising NRL star Joseph Suaalii (pictured centre) a staggering $10m five-year deal

Rabbitohs star Cameron Murray is also in Rugby Australia's sights after captaining Newington College's first XV

Rabbitohs star Cameron Murray is also in Rugby Australia’s sights after captaining Newington College’s first XV

With captain James Tedesco, the Tricolours’ long-time full-back, the young savage could consider a code-switch, especially with the massive money said to be thrown his way.

In May, Suaalii told Code Sports he’s happy to be building a career in the biggest game of them all.

“There was no temptation,” Suaalii said after it was revealed he had spoken to Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

“I love it (Roosters) here, I love everyone at the club – the staff and all the players. I am happy to be here.

‘I feel good. I love playing football and being at the highest level. When I’m on the field, I want to be one of the best players on the field and help the team win.”

Just three months later, Suaalii’s thought process may have changed given what is now said to be on the table.

Sea Eagles superstar full-back Tom Trbojevic is another NRL pin-up Rugby Australia would love to have on their books

Sea Eagles superstar full-back Tom Trbojevic is another NRL pin-up Rugby Australia would love to have on their books

Nelson Asofa-Solomona was a teenage standout in rugby-mad New Zealand before signing with the Melbourne Storm

Nelson Asofa-Solomona was a teenage standout in rugby-mad New Zealand before signing with the Melbourne Storm

Suaalii’s reported $2 million per season deal with RA will be far beyond what the Roosters can achieve as their salary cap is currently $9.118 million to accommodate 30 listed players.

Aside from Suaalii, it is believed that RA will give priority to NRL players who have played the sport before.

Rabbitohs star Murray was Newington College rugby captain, Papenhuyzen represented Oakhill College in north-west Sydney and Asofa-Solomona was a teenage standout in rugby-mad New Zealand before signing for Melbourne Storm U20 side in 2014.

Rugby Australia’s ruthless heist of the biggest game of them all will not be a first – Lote Tuqiri, Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor all plunked in for lucrative deals ahead of the 2003 World Cup on home shores.

The trio found success with the Wallabies – but all eventually returned to rugby league.

RA’s war chest is geared towards the 2027 World Cup but if Suaalii and other NRL stars drop out they will also be in line for selection when the 2025 British and Irish Lions series is played in Australia.

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Maureen Mackey

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