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)

Having a similar experience to Joseph Suaalii, crossing over from rugby league to rugby union, Mat Rogers has been surprised by the backlash the Roosters youngster has faced.

Suaalii has been in the centre of news headlines recently, having decided to sign a contract with Rugby Australia and leave the NRL.

This has caused turmoil among past and present players and NRL fans, with many not believing he was in the right to leave rugby league in favour of cross-code rival rugby union.

One player who is familiar with what Suaalii is facing is Mat Rogers.

Beginning his career with the Cronulla Sharks in 1995, Rogers left the club and NRL at the end of the 2001 season to join the New South Wales Waratahs in rugby union, and later represent Australia.

In his time before the swtich he played 123 games across seven season and 11 tests for Australia

Reminiscing about the old days on SENQ Breakfast, Rogers said there was some backliash from fans but not as much as Suaalii is currently facing.

"There was (backlash) from some sort of sections, I guess the media but more from the local area of Cronulla, there were a few people that were pretty disappointed given my family history but overwhelmingly pretty supportive," Rogers told SENQ Breakfast.

"We've got to understand he was a rugby union player, he came from rugby and he's always said he wanted to play rugby."

"So, I don't get the animosity or the hurt or the angst towards it, and he's never made it a secret that he wanted to go back there."