'Easily afford him': Rugby Australia boss wants another Roosters star to join Suaalii
Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan has publicly endorsed an early exit for Roosters star Joseph Suaalii while opening the door for another Roosters star to join him.
After a report from 9News that revealed the Roosters are considering releasing Suaalii this year, McLennan said that RA can ‘easily afford him’ along with second rower Angus Crichton.
Crichton is a former schoolboy union star from The Scots College where he played alongside current Wallaby Andrew Kellaway, but has been left out of code switch discussions until now.
“Without being prejudicial to Joey’s negotiations, we can easily afford Joey and Angus Crichton as well,” McLennan told 9News.
“This is how league treat their players. Joseph was the hottest star in league a month ago, now they don’t want him.
“If you’re an aspiring cross-code star remember this is the treatment you could get. I told league not to be punitive, and that’s exactly what they have done.”
The NSW Origin rep has played over 140 NRL games for the Rabbitohs and Roosters but seriously considered rugby after leaving school.
It was the Waratahs who allegedly told Crichton that he would ‘not ready’ for Super Rugby and would have to wait a few years.
The Rabbitohs told the young backrower he would play if ready, and after two seasons in the NYC U20 team he made his NRL debut in 2016.
The 27 year old played as an inside centre as a schoolboy and would likely bring his strong ball-carrying ability to the midfield if he was to join Suaalii.
He is contracted with his NRL club until the end of 2024 which opens up the possibility of making a switch in time for the 2025 British & Irish Lions tour.
McLennan even endorsed the Roosters Premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson as an ideal candidate to become a rugby coach.
“I rate Trent, but I wonder how he can coach in an environment like that when there is such a ruthless attitude towards young players,” McLennan said.
“Trent would do well as a rugby coach.”
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