The braggart elite, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and whispering sweet nothings: Why Joseph Sua’ali’i jumping to the Wallabies means nothing to rugby league



Rugby league media certainly can stir something up out of nothing – that something this time around is the future of Sydney Roosters youngster Joseph Sua’ali’i and whether or not he returns to rugby union and a guaranteed Wallabies jersey at the next World Cup.

Let him go.

Rugby Australia have found a few dollars to rub together and there’s a shiny gold jumper with ‘SUA’ALI’I’ splashed across the back of it.

He’s guaranteed top billing in rugby union.

His status and the baby steps he’s made in the NRL have had to been earned.

The 19-year-old, with just 27 NRL games to his name, is not a loss.

You know what a real loss was?

When the Wallabies snake charmed Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Mat Rogers for the 2003 World Cup with promises of dinners at North Shore mansions with Sydney’s braggart elite, thundering renditions of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ (to remind everyone and themselves that they are actually the “people’s sport” and the old “we’ve got an international game – who needs Flight Centre when you’ve got Rugby Australia?”

It almost nabbed them Andrew Johns, too.

That really would have hurt.

If Sua’ali’i goes, he goes.

He’ll be back.

So it really isn’t the big flex Rugby Australia and Eddie Jones think it is.

They always come back.

As usual, with these top-heavy sports brands, it’s all about the guys on top. Never mind about the young rugby union players out there busting their arses to chase a dream – only to see it smashed to smithereens as they are replaced by mercenaries on top dollar.

And when the dust settles and the momentum they thought they had vanishes into a million tiny pieces of frustration and buyer’s remorse – it’s the rugby union tragics that missed out on the World Cups, the money and the fame – they are the ones that are there to try and stick it all back together.

News about Sydney is his player agent Isaac Moses has submitted to have his accreditation renewed by Rugby Australia.

Yep – that Isaac Moses.

Shock horror.

It is being reported the Wallabies could pay Sua’ali’i upwards of $1.5million a year to return to the code he played from 13.

Sua’ali’i’s current deal with the Roosters ends at the completion of the 2024 NRL season. It would then free him up to become a Dual International and face the British Lions in 2025 and then run out for Australia at a home World Cup in 2027.

Most good judges predict he’ll then return to rugby league.

There’s every chance that when he does come back – he’ll be the legitimate superstar everyone expects him to be and that’s great.

But rugby league doesn’t take a time out just because Sua’ali’i wants to be a Wallaby.

If Sua’ali’i jumps ship, another youngster pops up and takes his place.

The NRL moves on.

That’s why all this “hype” surrounding Sua’ali’i really isn’t warranted.

He’s just another kid, without a premiership ring or a State of Origin jersey and a long line of suits, dollar signs in their eyes, whispering sweet nothings in his ears.


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