Eddie Jones’ league convert dazzles in first game after mega Wallabies deal
There has been quite a war between rugby union and rugby league this week after Rugby Australia confirmed the signing of 19-year-old Sydney Roosters sensation Joseph Sua’ali’i, who signed a $1.6 million a year deal from 2025.
This is a landmark signing for the Wallabies and his soon-to-be club the Waratahs, with the British & Irish Lions touring in 2025 and the World Cup being played on Australian soil two years later.
A huge cross-code war has ensued though, with the fullback’s Roosters teammate Brandon Smith saying “a $1.6 million winger from the Roosters isn’t going to help you beat the All Blacks”.
Wallabies past and present have responded to that though, with Sua’ali’i’s future Wallabies and Waratahs teammate Jed Holloway responding “I just reckon Joseph wants to do more travel than the east coast of Australia.”
Former Wallabies centre Morgan Turinui did not hold back either with his response to Smith on Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts podcast this week.
“The league attack on Union from the players, that always irritates me,” he said
“As a boy growing up playing both [codes], we love our league, we watch it every week, we talk about it.
“When Australia play rugby league, I support the Kangaroos. I don’t think league guys are the same, they really dislike rugby union.
“I don’t know why. It just seems like it is the cool thing to do is bag rugby. I found that ordinary, from a couple of the remarks.”
Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has not got embroiled in this war of words though.
“The only thing I’m worried about is this World Cup,” Jones said.
“I’ve got no thought pattern past October 28. Zero. And I can’t afford to.”
It looks as though Sua’ali’i himself has not got involved either, rather he decided to do his talking on the pitch on Thursday as the Roosters faced the Parramatta Eels in the NRL.
The Roosters came away 28-20 winners, with the future union star producing a sumptuous one handed pass to winger Jaxson Paulo in the second half. That is a perfect glimpse of what the versatile back will bring to rugby union.
Take a look at his assist:
The flick pass! 😍#NRLRoostersEels pic.twitter.com/cATkFqJT2q
— NRL (@NRL) March 30, 2023