Rugby league: Sydney Roosters wonderkid Joseph Suaalii rejects Australia to play for Samoa at World Cup

Sydney Roosters wonderkid Joseph Suaalii has boosted Toa Samoa's chances for this year's Rugby League World Cup, opting to play for the Pacific nation over Australia.

Suaalii, 19, has stood out for the Roosters in 2022 - scoring 15 tries, creating two more and even earned a State of Origin call-up into the New South Wales squad.

But despite advances from Australia coach Mal Meninga, Suaalii has opted to represent his heritage at this year's World Cup, held in England.

"For family reasons, I have decided to pledge my allegiance to Samoa for the upcoming World Cup," Suaalii told NewsCorp.

"This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career. 

"I have been humbled by the respect shown to me and my family by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga. I can't thank him enough for considering me but this is about more than football.

"This is about respecting my family and the sacrifices they have made for me throughout my career.

"One day, I hope to play for Australia. I truly believe Samoa can do great things at this World Cup and I can't wait to be part of it."

Suaalii adds his name to a prospective Samoa side already brimming with talent. Penrith Panthers stars Jarome Luai and Brian To'o have already declared, as have star forwards Josh Papali'i of Canberra Raiders, and Junior Paulo of Parramatta Eels.

Former NZ Warriors half Daejarn Asi is also in contention to represent Samoa after confirming his intention to switch his allegiance.

Coach Matt Parish will name his 24-man World Cup squad next week, as Samoa begin their tournament against hosts England on October 15.