The Rabbitohs will pay Joseph Suaalii $60,000 not to play football next year to ensure he can’t move to the Roosters until 2022 season, per The Sydney Morning Herald.
Suaalii is a contracted player at the Rabbitohs until 2021, with the club refusing to let him leave earlier as the Roosters look to sign Suaalii from 2022 on a three-year deal and plan to sign him earlier.
The Roosters were hopeful the 17-year-old could land a release from the Rabbitohs that would allow him to join the Roosters immediately.
This comes as the fullback confirms he wants out of the Rabbitohs even though they are prepared to pay his $60,000 contract for next season even if he doesn’t feature.
Suaalii continues to push for a multi-year deal with clauses to be added each year in his favour.
The decision to head to Bondi came after a meeting with Roosters powerbrokers and cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams.
The Chooks are wanting to sign the youngster on as a long-term replacement for James Tedesco for when he retires.
Rabbitohs second-rower Cameron Murray described Suaalii as a tremendous prospect.
“I still haven’t seen him play ever, I only got a glimpse of him when he did a few days of training with us for a few days in pre-season. I was impressed with what I saw,” Murray said.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he’s a good kid. He’s respectful, off the field he’s a really great person and on the field he’s a great athlete.
“Just from what I saw, he’s going to be a great football player, he already is.
“I just wish him all the best in terms of the stage where he’s at. He’s got a lot of hype around him and he’s only very young.
“You only have to think back to when you were at that age, if you had all this hype around you, how you would handle it?
“There has been a lot of media attention about him and I hope he is dealing alright. I hope he has good people around him to steer him in the right direction.
“Obviously I’d like to see him in Souths colours, but I’m sure he will make the right decision for his family.”