For the first time since signing a deal with Rugby Australia, Joseph Suaalii has explained his decision to jump codes to rugby union.

Still only 19 years old and one of the best youngsters in the NRL, Suaalii informed the Sydney Roosters at the end of March that he would be leaving the club at the end of the 2024 season.

This decision not only shocked the Roosters but the entire rugby league world.

Having not uttered a word in two months since signing the contract, the outside back spoke to News Corp about the decision, explaining himself.

“It was a hard decision for me to leave,” Suaalii said to News Corp.

“I always chase my dreams and that has always been in my heart. It is going to be hard to leave the Roosters in a couple of years but my heart and my dreams always come first.

“The Lions tour was one of my first encounters with union. It has been something that has always been a goal.

“A home World Cup - playing in Australia - I think it speaks for itself.”

“I always loved both games,” he added.

“I always had visions when I was younger of playing in both codes. It was something I always visualised and saw in my life.”

Image courtesy of Fox Sports.

Although he started playing rugby league first, he played his first rugby union game in Year 5- before he moved to the well-renowned King's School.

During this time, he became a prodigy in the rugby union world and was seen as one of the best union schoolboy talents.

“Money has never been my main factor,” Suaalii said.

“Obviously it plays a part but the World Cup, Lions tour, Bledisloe Cup - I have always seen that as a bigger factor. Traveling the world is another key factor as well.

“I have taken up my option. All my focus is on playing for the Roosters this year and next year. Everyone at the club knows I want to be here for the remainder of my contract.”

Joseph Suaalii dictates Samoa's defensive line from the back.

While Suaalii will leave the Roosters at the end of the 2024 season, he hasn't ruled out a return to the NRL in the future. The Samoan international made it clear that he loves the club and appreciates everything they have done for him.

This included a deep respect for coach Trent Robinson and chairman Nick Politis.

“You never know one day I could come back,” Suaalii said.

“I am not closed to anything. I am not sure what my life is going to look like after I finish with union. I don't look too far ahead.

“I love this club and I wouldn't rule anything about. The club has given me a lot. They have helped and included my family and myself from day one."