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Sydney Roosters Joseph Suaalii, Roosters young gun salary, Suaalii South Sydney Rabbitohs junior, Nick Politis, Roosters signings, James Hooper, Jimmy Brings

Here’s the truth about how the Sydney Roosters orchestrated one of the great recruitment coups by poaching teenage superstar Joseph Suaalii away from the grasp of arch rivals South Sydney.

As far as big signatures go, the Roosters’ Suaalii play ranks right up there with all of Uncle Nick Politis’ best gets including Cooper Cronk, Sonny Bill Williams, Brad Fittler and Phil Gould.

What made it even sweeter, Suaalii had been in the South Sydney system at Redfern since age 14.

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The Roosters have called BS on the Bunnies claim from ex-boss Shane Richardson about the Tricolours paying the teenage gun more money.

Fox League has confirmed South Sydney offered Suaalii a four-year contract worth $2.55 million to begin in 2021.

The Roosters landed the young gun teenager on a four-year deal for $1.92 million.

The deal breaker for the Bunnies was Suaalii’s management insisted on a get out clause in the deal every year meaning the teenager was free to leave provided he informed South Sydney by round 11.

SuperCoach Wayne Bennett was still in charge at Redfern at the time and told the teenager there was no way the clauses were being included.

Bennett simply trotted out the old line about there being no “I” in team.

At this point Suaalii’s management got the Roosters on the hook and Politis travelled to western Sydney to break bread with his family and begin the process of bringing him to Bondi Junction.

The Roosters quickly realised the get out clauses were the circuit breaker to strike the deal, agreed to them and ultimately signed Suaali’i on a four-year contract worth $1.92 million.

In his first season in the NRL with the Tricolours last year, Suaalii was paid a minimum wage contract of $120,000.

Politis takes aim at Rabbitohs | 03:29

It goes up to $350,000 this season which is clearly value for money given the way the 19-year-old has been playing.

For the record, Suaalii has already taken up the option to remain at the Roosters for next season and the club is busily working on trying to get him locked in for 2024 as well.

The Bunnies are still furious about the Roosters claiming credit for Suaalii’s rise to stardom given the way long-time Rabbitohs supporter Steve Nasteski is regarded as the talent scout who first identified the teenage prodigy.

Nasteski is an art dealer by trade and remains adamant art dealers always have the best eye.

The multi-millionaire businessman even went as far as paying for AFL star Michael O’Loughlin to coach the ex-Souths rookie how to best catch a Steeden.

Suaalii and Nasteski’s son Luca Ace-Nasteski would meet O’Loughlin at Erskineville Oval for catching practice.

Suaalii and Ace-Nasteski both played in the South Sydney Harrold Matthews and SG Ball sides together before the Roosters orchestrated one of their best-ever coups against the arch-enemy Rabbitohs.

The Bunnies will have to add another chapter to the Book of Feuds.

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NAS AND JWH GO TO WAR

The usual suspect fence-sitters defending Nelson Asofa-Solomona need to defog their rose-tinted glasses.

Everyone loved the confrontation aspect of the two Alpha males NAS and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves putting the gloves on and going to war like a pair of old school front-rowers.

It was shades of Paul Harragon and Mark Carroll or Steve Roach and Les Davidson back in the day, just two big units engaged in a rolling battle street fight.

Every time one of them got the Steeden, the other one inevitably wanted to lock horns.

It was brilliant rugby league theatre and it was JWH who emerged the points victor despite being sin-binned.

Where NAS was out of order was when the Storm prop tried to jam Roosters rookie Joseph Suaalii with an elbow slam as the Tricolours winger’s head was about to hit the turf.

It was dangerous whichever way you look at it and he’s lucky he avoided time on the sidelines.

Most experts shook their heads at how Asofa-Solomona avoided suspension for a similar incident when he knocked two of Warriors hooker Wayde Egan’s front teeth out in round 20.

Anyway, the 200cm Storm giant has been given the green light and now we all await the next instalment against his Kiwi Test teammate JWH in the finals.

It’ll also be a cracking battle between big NAS and Parramatta’s Junior Paulo to open round 25 on Thursday night when the Eels host the Storm with a top four spot on the line.

Ding, ding, ding.

Ponga & Mann escape NRL sanctions | 02:13

SATTLER’S ULTIMATE COMPLIMENT

Penrith’s 2003 grand final icon Scott Sattler has paid Jared Waerea-Hargreaves the ultimate compliment by comparing the Roosters front-rower to his famous father John, the champion South Sydney prop who famously played the 1970 grand final with a broken jaw.

Speaking on the Fox League Podcast earlier this week, Sattler recalled watching JWH as a young gun playing rugby union for Manly in 2007 and immediately wanting to sign him up for the Gold Coast Titans.

The Manly Sea Eagles and then the Sydney Roosters ultimately won the race for the champion prop forward but that hasn’t stopped Sattler naming JWH as one of his all-time favourite front-rowers.

“I love the way he takes opposition sides on, it’s like a one man army he actually reminds me a little bit of my father as a player where you talk about being the protector and he’s a little bit like the silverback gorilla isn’t he,” Sattler told the Fox League Podcast.

“He just says to everyone listen I’ll put the flak jacket on and cop all the blows and I’ll let you guys do what you’ve got to do but don’t worry about me I’ll hold the fort.

“I love that about him, I love his passion, I love his emotion, I love the love that he’s got for his teammates, I love how much he just has so much pride in that club and in that jersey.

“Imagine being a young player going into that club and if you’ve got half a little cocky step in you early on in your career someone like Jared would chip you pretty early in your career to say tow the line because if you don’t you’ll be finding another club.

“He’s a little bit like one of those players that as a coach he’s like having another coach. “When the coach goes to sleep, he turns his back, he’s got players that will continue with the values and the traditions and the ethos that the club want to try and continually strive for. “He’s been one of my favourite front rowers, if not my favourite front rower ever to come into grade.”

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LEAGUE’S RAID ON UNION

For all the rugby union huff and puff about opening the $10 million cheque book to target NRL players the elbow patch brigade might want to get their own backyard in order first.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have landed a significant body blow on rugby union and Wests Tigers by jagging the signature of the son of Wallaby forward Bill Young, Patrick Young.

A lock forward for the Balmain Tigers in the Harrold Matthews Competition, Young is regarded as a similar prototype to Cameron Murray at South Sydney with the Bulldogs quietly celebrating having landed the young gun’s signature on a two-year deal as a development player from 2023.

Young was the player who scored the winning try in the infamous Leichhardt Oval match between GPS rugby teams St Joseph’s and Riverview when one of the railings at the eighth wonder of the world collapsed.

Anyway the Bulldogs have landed a strong emerging player in the son of the former Wallaby forward.

Panthers rest host of stars for last RD | 02:24

The other rugby union young gun all the NRL clubs are queuing up for is the son of former Sydney Rooster and Penrith Panther Peter Jorgensen, who also played for the Wallabies.

Max Jorgensen has been playing fullback for St Josephs and is regarded as the best player on the schoolboy rugby circuit.

Talk about rugby union being asleep at the steering wheel.

BOB’S FITTING FAREWELL

EVERYONE in rugby league knows the affable Bob Lanigan – the champion NRL ground manager who has literally dedicated his life to the game. Whether it was kicking goals for Newtown in the 1960s, playing bush footy for Griffith and Dapto to name a few of his clubs, or being one of the first faces you spot at the footy every weekend as an NRL ground manager, Bobby always had time for everyone. On Friday night at the SCG, Bobby will sign off after 23 years of service as an NRL ground manager. In a quality touch from the NRL, Bobby will ring the two minute bell before kick off at the grand opening of the new Allianz Stadium when the Roosters host arch-rivals South Sydney. It’s a fitting send off for a bloke who has given rugby league a lifetime of service.



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