Joseph Sua’ali’i’s career in rugby league appears to be ending prematurely, with suspension, poor form, and other problems dogging his final moments. The Roosters winger was expected to leave rugby league in a state of satisfaction when he retired to rugby union in 2025. But season 2023 has seen his bright star fizzle out, along with the Roosters’ premiership hopes.
Sua’ali’s most recent ban came after lifting his knees into Reed Mahoney, a running style that was described as more suited to cabaret than gaining metres on a rugby league field. This was just his latest “concerning act”, in addition to two previous kneeing charges and his decision to join the Wallabies.
Since signing the deal, rumours have circulated of a rift with the Roosters, with the 19-year-old activating a juicy extension clause for the club for 2024 only weeks earlier. While the Roosters publicly denied the spat, his form ever since tells a different story.
Barring a miracle turnaround from both the player and the club in both form and decorum, Sua’ali’i will likely finish the year in a Roosters flame-out that fizzles before September. This will amplify the calls for a pre-2025 release, leaving Sua’ali with the unwanted narrative of wasting his last moments in the NRL by securing his financial future early.
However, despite his grim predicament, Sua’ali’i still has the chance to leave behind a legacy rarely witnessed in rugby league should he determine to assist the Roosters out of their slump.