Here’s how the Sydney Roosters pulled off one of the biggest recruitment coups by poaching teenage star Joseph Sualieu away from their South Sydney rivals.
As far as big signings go, they rank right up there with Uncle Nick Politis’ best, including the Roosters’ swaggering Cooper Crone, Sonny Bill Williams, Brad Filer and Phil Gould.
What made it even sweeter was that Suali had been in Redfern in South Sydney since she was 14 years old.
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The Roosters have called BS on Bunnies’ claims from former boss Shane Richardson that the Tricolors will pay extra for the young gun.
Fox League South Sydney have confirmed they have offered Suali a four-year contract worth $2.55 million starting in 2021.
The Roosters signed the young gun to a four-year deal worth $1.92 million.
The Browns’ deal breaker, Suaalii’s management, insisted on the teenager’s free-exit clause every year until he informed South Sydney in round 11.
Super coach Wayne Bennett was managing Redfern at the time and told the teenager there was no way his clause would be included.
Bennett simply trotted out the old line that there is no “I” in a team.
At this point Suaalii’s management got the chickens on the hook and Politis traveled to western Sydney to cut bread with his family and bring him to Bondi Junction.
The Roosters quickly realized that the opt-out clauses were the circuit breaker to strike the deal, agreed to them and eventually signed Sualei to a four-year deal worth $1.92 million.
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In his first season with the Tricolors in the NRL last year, Suaalii was paid a minimum wage contract of $120,000.
That’s up to $350,000 this season, which is clearly value for money with the way the 19-year-old is playing.
For the record, Suali has taken up his option to stay at the Roosters for next season and the club is working hard to lock him in for 2024.
Long-time Rabbitohs fan Steve Nastesky is still furious that Suaalii should be credited for his rise to stardom in the way that talent scouts identified the youngster.
Nasteski is an art dealer by trade and solid art dealers always have the best eye.
The multi-millionaire businessman has even gone so far as to pay AFL star Michael O’Loughlin to coach the former Souths rookie on how to handle Steden.
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Suali and Nasteski’s son Luca Ace-Nasteski will meet O’Loughlin at Erskineville Oval for training.
Suaalii and Ace-Nasteski both played for South Sydney’s Harold Matthews and SG Ball sides before the Roosters staged one of their best coups against arch-rivals the Rabbitohs.
The Browns should add another chapter to the book of feuds.