Rugby Australia boss takes a stinging shot at the Roosters after claim the club wants Joseph Suaalii to leave early – and says union could re-work his contract in ‘just 30 minutes’
- Hamish McLennan asked if Roosters have ‘salary cap issues’
- Declared Rugby Australia will take Joseph Suaalii early
- The 19-year-old has signed a monster deal with RA from 2025
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan has had a cheeky jab at the Roosters, asking if they are experiencing ‘salary cap issues.’
The outspoken McLennan, who clearly takes great delight in annoying rugby league identities, also labelled the treatment of Joseph Suaalii ‘nothing short of horrible.’
It comes as the form of the 19-year-old has dipped significantly after he signed a monster three-year deal with Rugby Australia understood to be worth $1.6million a year from 2025 onwards.
If the Roosters choose to release the young gun leave at the end of this season, they will then have $700,000 to spend on their NRL salary cap for 2024.
‘I think there’s more to this than meets the eye,’ McLennan told News Corp.
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan has had a jab at the Roosters, publicly asking if they are experiencing ‘salary cap issues’
It comes as speculation continues the Roosters will release rugby bound Joseph Suaalii at the end of this season, so they will have $700,000 to spend on their NRL salary cap for 2024
‘I’m wondering if there’s a salary cap issue at the Roosters?
‘Rugby Australia won’t induce Joseph to break his contract, but his agent [Isaac Moses] can deal with that with a good lawyer in about 30 minutes.
‘Joey’s treatment [from the Roosters] has also been nothing short of horrible.’
McLennan went onto boast that RA ‘could afford to take Suaalii now’ and that finances are on the improve ahead of the Lions tour in 2025 and hosting a World Cup two years later.
Roosters supremo Nick Politis denied reports the powerhouse NRL club is set to show Suaalii the door.
‘For starters, you can’t blame Joseph for the way the team is performing,’ he said.
‘We have no plans to release him at this stage. The final say on recruitment is always with ‘Robbo’ (coach Trent Robinson) anyway.
‘He’s working very hard with all the players to turn things around for our next game.’
Suaalii, 19, recently signed a three-year deal with Rugby Australia understood to be worth $1.6 million a year from 2025 onwards (digitally altered image)
Premiership favourites in the eyes of many, the Tricolours have been inconsistent across the first 10 rounds, sitting in eighth spot with a record of five wins and four defeats.
A frustrated Robinson continues to tinker with his team, and last weekend during Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium they were outclassed 20-6 by the Cowboys in worrying signs.
The Tricolours are said to be leaning towards offering veteran Jared Waerea-Hargreaves another season – but won’t insult the 34-year-old with a paltry contract given his outstanding service dating back to 2010.
Fellow front-rower Matt Lodge appears the odd man out, and the journeyman may end up at the Sea Eagles, given he lives on Sydney’s northern beaches.