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'Bye bye. Off you go': Suaalii told to leave NRL immediately

By Ian Cameron
Joseph Suaalii of the Roosters is assisted on field after a head knock during the NRL Trial Match between the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium on February 17, 2023 in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Rugby league legend Phil Gould is calling for Joseph Suaalii to immediately leave the NRL after signing a multi-million dollar contract to switch codes to rugby union at end of the 2024 season.


Gould’s bold statement came during his appearance on Nine’s 100% Footy show where he asked for the game to sever all ties with the Sydney Roosters centre, despite having almost two seasons remaining on his deal in the NRL.

Suaalii will play for the Waratahs after Rugby Australia confirmed the teenager’s code switch from the NRL in a brief statement over the weekend.

“Rugby Australia (RA) and the NSW Waratahs today announced that they have signed Joseph Suaalii from October 2024 until at least the end of 2027,” the statement said. “Per RA policy, terms of the contract were not announced.”

It’s a move that has been the talk of both rugby codes in Australia in recent days.

Gould is not a fan of the switch and his frustration was apparent as he stated that every time Suaalii scores, or makes any significant contribution to the game, the media would refer to the fact that he was leaving for rugby.

“Every time he scores a try. Every time he does something in our game people are going to refer to the fact that he’s going to rugby,” Gould said on 100% Footy.

“Why do we need that? Go now. Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out. Go. Go now. Gone. He’s made his decision. You sign a contract for rugby 18 months before his league contract ends.



“You can’t sign with any other rugby league club in that time. He can only sign somewhere else. He’s made his decision. I have nothing against the kid. I’ve loved having him in the NRL. He’s a tremendous athlete and is great for the game. But he’s decided to be a rugby player. Bye bye. Off you go.”

While Suaalii is a potential selection for the NSW Blues, Gould has warned that he wouldn’t pick him for State of Origin. “He’s gone to rugby, he’s made his decision and I’m happy for him to go now.”



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