Rugby-bound Roosters centre Joseph Suaalii is facing a potential four-match ban following an incident in Sunday’s game against the Bulldogs. Suaalii raised his knee, causing Canterbury hooker Reed Mahoney to leave the field with an HIA in the 34th minute. The Match Review Committee issued Suaalii with a three-match ban, which could increase to four if he opts to appeal and is found guilty.
This is not the first time Suaalii has been involved in a knee-raising incident. He faced a caution during the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 after raising his knees into Tonga’s Felise Kaufusi. He was also fined $1800 by the Match Review Committee for a similar incident during the 2022 finals and issued with a concerning act notice by the NRL in round 23 of the 2022 series for raising his knees into a Wests Tigers defender.
Mahoney was left sprawled on the ground when his head made contact with Suaalii’s knee. Although the Bulldogs returned after half-time, Mahoney did not take to the field, and it remains unclear when he will return.
Roosters hooker Jake Turpin has also received a grade one careless high tackle charge for a hit on Bulldogs debutant Khaled Rajab. If Turpin takes the early guilty plea, he will face a $1000 fine, which increases to $1500 if he challenges his charge and is found guilty.
Suaalii and Turpin have until 12 pm on Tuesday to enter their pleas. The Roosters are expected to fight the charges laid against both players vigorously. However, if Suaalii is found guilty, he will be a significant loss to the team. Despite being only 19-years old, Suaalii has already demonstrated his skills on the field, and he is seen as a rising star of the game.