NRL Rd 2 - Roosters v Warriors
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii of the Roosters watches on during the warm-up before the round two NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors at Allianz Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Departing Sydney Roosters star Joseph Suaalii has been touted to potentially become the best league-to-union rugby convert in Australia's history ahead of his highly-anticipated switch to the 15-man code.

Suaalli is set to depart Bondi at the cessation of the 2024 NRL season after signing with the Wallabies on a lucrative deal that will see him become the latest code hopper.

Set to follow in the footsteps of former Melbourne and Brisbane talent Israel Folau, Kangaroos star Greg Inglis, New Zealand great Sonny Bill Williams and ex-Storm flyer Suliasi Vunivalu, Suaalii will depart the NRL in the hope of making a name for himself on the rugby stage.

The 20-year-old was in high demand as a 17-year-old after a promising junior career, with Suaalii eventually departing South Sydney's program in a well-documented move to the Roosters three years ago while Rugby Australia was also lingering.

Set to make the switch to the Wallabies in less than a year, Suaalii is already being backed to go past the likes of Folau and Lote Tuqiri as a cross-code sensation, with the latter telling The Sydney Morning Herald the promising fullback is "a force to be reckoned with".

"He could get to Israel Folau status," Tuqiri told the publication.

"He probably could be better. He could be better than all of us rugby league converts. Joseph Suaalii could be a force to be reckoned with.

"... They've made a big investment. He's been playing at a high level with the Roosters. I think you try and fast-track him in (for Australia's November tour of the UK and Ireland)."

Samoa v France: Rugby League World Cup
WARRINGTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Josh Suaali'i of Samoa looks to break past Matthieu Laguerre of France during Rugby League World Cup 2021 Pool A match between Samoa and France at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Warrington, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC)

Suaalii's switch to join Rugby Australia will follow a dismal World Cup campaign for the Wallabies which has since seen coach Eddie Jones depart in an ugly exit.

Tuqiri believes Australia's form will weigh heavily on Suaalii's mind over the next 12 months, but has backed the young star to help turn things around.

"If I'm him, I would have some doubts if I made the right decision," Tuqiri said.

"He'll have another 12 months to see where the game goes. It can only go up in Australia. He's a young bloke who's signed for a lot of money in a game where he can actually play.

"He seems very level-headed and mature for a 20-year-old kid."

Suaalii has played 45 games for the Roosters over three seasons in the NRL, while he has already broken onto the international stage with Samoa - representing the nation on six occasions at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.