Australian rugby prodigy Joseph Suaalii says he’s ready for NRL after impressing in North Sydney Bears trial
Teen sensation Joseph Suaalii has declared himself ready for the NRL as Sydney Roosters await an exemption to get the 17-year-old onto the field before August.
On Monday the King’s School year 12 student fronted media for the first time as the most hyped teenager in Australian sport and announced he will be ready when the Roosters are.
“Yeah, I’d be ready. As an athlete you kind of have to be, you want to be ready,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of stuff that I need to work on before I get to that point but if I do get a chance to make my debut, it would be a childhood dream to go and play for the Roosters and make my NRL debut.”
Currently the NRL is considering a request from the Roosters to allow Suaalii to play before his 18th birthday in August but the hulking teen already looks the part of a first-grader.
Should the NRL grant the exemption as expected, it’s likely Suaalii could make his debut mid-season.
It comes after his senior debut in a NSW Cup trial for North Sydney on Saturday in which he scored two tries at right centre in his first game in 18 months.
It was physically taxing and he was later taken off the field with a cramp, but the hit out showed just why the Roosters fought to lure the teen to Bondi from under the nose of South Sydney and Australian rugby.
Although Suaalii wouldn’t address why he eventually chose the Roosters in the midst of the bidding war, he said the winning culture of the club has been obvious over the pre-season.
And under the guidance of coach Trent Robinson, he’s happy to ply his trade anywhere in the backline.
“(Robinson has) been a big help since I’ve been here, I’ve learnt a lot from him,” Suaalii said.
“As a junior, I played a bit of everywhere. I don’t have a favourite position in the outside backs.
“Centres felt good, but I’d be happy wherever they put me.”
Former Kangaroos winger Brett Morris marvelled at how physically developed the 196cm-tall high-schooler is in the gym.
“He’s a really good kid, really humble and ready to work hard,” Morris said.
“He’s a really good mover on the field.
“He’s quite strong in the gym as well.
“He is only young, but he’s definitely not out of place when we’re in the gym throwing weights around or in the wrestling room.
“Even in the field doing fitness and speed, he’s certainly handled himself this pre-season.”
Morris made his NRL debut at 19 for St George Illawarra back in 2006 and was nearly finished high school by the time Suaalii was born.
Since then, he’s gone on to become one of the best wingers in the game and is passing his advice on where he can.
“It’s young but people have done it in the past and proved that they can handle it and keep up with the game,” he said.
“He’s definitely not a small guy, so that’s in his favour.
“I was nearly finished high school when he was born, but these are the sort of kids that you get excited about out there on the training paddock and I’m trying to teach them things I’ve learned along the way as well.
“It’s been refreshing.”
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