Sydney Roosters finally hand 17-year-old Joseph Suaalii NRL debut

The Sydney Roosters are finally set to unleash teenage phenom Joseph Suaalii on the NRL with reports he will debut against the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday.

Suaalii joined the Roosters last year after a tug of war between Rugby Australia and the South Sydney Rabbitohs saw him land on the Roosters’ doorstep.

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The Roosters revealed that Suaalii, who won’t turn 18 until August, would be handed his debut in the clash at the SCG.

“It’s been really clear to all of us that Joseph has been ready for the last few weeks, and it’s time for him to start his journey in the NRL this weekend,” Roosters head coach Trent Robinson said.

Go well young man!Source:Getty Images

Suaalii went so close to making his debut in the Roosters clash against the Eels as the 18th man but he wasn’t allowed to be activated despite five-eighth Drew Hutchison being hospitalised by knees from opposite number Dylan Brown.

As Hutchison was taken from the field, the 18th man could have been activated if the foul play was punished.

It reportedly led to the foul play crackdown that dominated the headlines this week.

The Roosters have been hit hard by injuries this season with eight players currently on the injury list, including season-ending blows for Luke Keary, Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins.

Suaalii’s path to the top grade has been fascinating NRL theatre with the 17-year-old being granted clearance to play despite being under 18, which is now required under NRL rules.

Earlier in the season, Robinson said that while they had clearance, Suaalii would still have to wait.

“I’ve been quite transparent with the NRL about my plan,” Robinson said.

“We’re not going to play him before he’s ready, so it’s about playing him in reserve grade and I thought he excelled in the trial but needed to physically nail the game.

“He did better again on the weekend and he needs to keep turning up against different reserve grade teams and keep the physicality continuing in his game.”

Suaalii is in.Source:Getty Images

The schoolboy rugby sensation — who last year officially chose league over a rich offer from Rugby Australia — impressed everyone while training with the Rabbitohs’ first grade squad last pre-season and it has long been a question of when, not if, he would graduate to the NRL.

He was the most sought-after talent in Australian sport last year before the Roosters wrestled him away from the Rabbitohs, despite having signed a contract with the Redfern club.

Suaalii has played six games for Roosters feeder North Sydney, scoring three tries — including two in his debut — as well as making nine tackle breaks, 74 tackles with 12 misses, a total of 537m and one linebreak.

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