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Why Rogers doesn’t quite understand animosity towards Suaalii


Over the weekend, one of rugby league’s most promising talents swapped the 13-man game for the 15-man game.

Joseph Suaalii signed a contract with Rugby Australia beginning in 2025 running until the end of 2027 but will remain at the Sydney Roosters until his contract expires at the conclusion of the 2024 NRL season.

Suaalii is the biggest name to switch codes in years and has received plenty of heat for his decision, from fans and administrators alike.

SENQ’s Mat Rogers is familiar with the experience, swapping his Kangaroo jersey for a Wallabies one back in 2001.

“There was (backlash) from some sort of sections, I guess the media but more from the local area of Cronulla, there were a few people that were pretty disappointed given my family history but overwhelmingly pretty supportive,” Rogers told SENQ Breakfast.

It’s no surprise that the 19-year-old Suaalii has moved back to rugby union, highlighted by his one-year extensions at the Roosters and his background as a Australian schoolboy rugby union representative.

“We’ve got to understand he was a rugby union player, he came from rugby and he’s always said he wanted to play rugby. So, I don’t get the animosity or the hurt or the angst towards it, and he’s never made it a secret that he wanted to go back there,” Rogers added.

In all honesty, this constant chatter and criticism of Suaalii’s decision is great for rugby union in Australia. Usually sitting in the backdrop of the NRL, Rugby Australia has been all over the back page this week, the best press they’ve had in years.

In the meantime, Suaalii will continue to play for the Roosters and has his eye on a potential spot in Brad Fittler’s New South Wales Origin side in late May.

“He’ll fulfil his obligations to the Roosters, and if it becomes untenable then they’ll work something out but I’m sure it won’t. They don’t want to let him go, for Gus to say leave now, I mean if he was at the Bulldogs I wonder if he’d have the same opinion,” stated Rogers.

Suaalii is a big part of the Roosters plans in winning the competition in 2023 and coach Trent Robinson will make sure he goes nowhere.

The Roosters host the Parramatta Eels on Thursday night to kick-off round five.

Sydney Roosters Rugby Union

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