Believed to be worth around $1.6 million per year for three years, Suaalii will become one of the highest-paid domestic sports stars as rugby union prepare for a full blown assault on the British and Irish Lions in 2025, followed by the World Cup on home soil in 2027.
Those two events were believed to be a big part of the reason Suaalii made the switch, with Rugby Australia also targeting a number of other NRL players, but falling short in their pursuit of the likes of Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Will Penisini and Nelson Asofa-Solomona, as well as Angus Crichton where talks are believed to have fallen over.
But speaking on 9 News, Roosters boss Nick Politis indicated the switch to the 15-man game will be a short one for Suaalii, who could be welcomed back to the Roosters immediately following the conclusion of his three-year mega money deal.
“Joseph is a good guy, a good kid,” Politis told Channel 9.
“It's sad that we've lost him to union, but he tells us he's coming back in 2028.”
The biggest sticking point in prying Suaalii away from rugby union may be the financials. Even with an increasing salary cap, it's unlikely any NRL player will be worth $1.6 million in 2028, although it's unclear whether union would still have that much money available for the star back.
It will also likely be around the time the NRL expands again, which means a cashed up expansion franchise could come to the table in making an offer for Suaalii.
That said, Politis indicated Suaalii is a Roosters, and that he would be unlikely to play for any other NRL club.
Suaalii, at this stage, will play the 2024 season out for the Roosters in what is an immensely talented backline also featuring James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Joseph Manu - who has his own questions about where he will play in 2025 - and the arriving Dominic Young from the Newcastle Knights.