Souths teenage prodigy Joseph Suaalii (Image: WWOS)

The Australian Rugby League Commission are contemplating changing the NRL’s age policy for 17-year old prodigy Joseph Suaalii.

The Roosters, who finally secured the services of Suaalii from South Sydney earlier this week, are yet to approach the commission to seek exemption for him to play next year.

Currently, NRL rules state that players have to be 18 before they make their debut at first-grade level, with Suaalii not turning 18 until August next year.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo told The Sydney Morning Herald that the league would be willing to make an exception due to his talent.

“It depends on the individual circumstance,” he said.

“If there’s an opportunity to fast-track someone on an exceptional basis, then they will do that.”

Abdo also suggested that Rugby League will consider changing their age policy on a full-time basis.

“What we’re not doing (with Suaalii) is revisiting the rulings entirely, although we might do that down the track,” he said.

“Those decisions won’t just happen overnight, they happen after the commission has considered the justification and ultimately the due diligence of that process.”

There has been plenty of speculation about the future of Suaalii, without the teenage sensation even playing a senior game.

But Abdo thinks the media interest is a credit to his talent and he couldn’t be more excited to see him play in the NRL in the years to come.

“Isn’t it great that we have people talking about a highly talented athlete who wants to play rugby league? I think that’s terrific.”


  1. I see the NRL are bending over backwards for the Roosters again.

    What a surprise.

    Any other club and it would be a straight out no.

  2. ^ Yup, agreed! 18 is the right age to start playing against men. Physically and mentally. Also should have a full season of reserve grade/seconds before consideration. Imaging a 16 or 17 year old being seriously hurt because they allowed him to play.

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