Rugby: Australia score major coup with signing of NRL star Joseph Suaalii from 2024

Teenage sensation Joseph Suaalii has broken rugby league hearts, opting to switch codes to rugby union, when his current NRL contract ends next October.

Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs have confirmed his signing through to the end of 2027.

"Welcome back to rugby, Joseph," declared RA chairman Hamish McLennan.

Suaalii, 19, grew up playing the 15-man code at Kings' School, as well as playing sevens for New South Wales and Australian schoolboys, but made his NRL debut for Sydney Roosters at 17. He also represented Samoa at last year's Rugby League World Cup, helping them to the final.

Since Eddie Jones took over as Wallabies coach this year, he has set his sights on luring former rugby players back, as he builds his stock towards the Rugby World Cup and beyond.

Suaalii's switch will undoubtedly help his cause, as he targets others.

"Joseph has been transparent with the club and we respect his decision,” said Roosters coach Trent Robinson. "He has made his commitment to the Roosters club for the next year-and-a-half crystal clear and we’re excited about the path we're on."

Suaalii, who plays in the centres, but harbours ambitions at fullback, insists he still has unfinished business in league.

"The Sydney Roosters have been great to me and my family since I got here, and the club is always going to be a big part of me," he said.

"There’s still a long way to go in my journey with the Roosters, and my sole focus is on working hard every day to keep improving and performing my role for the team."