21 Sep 2022
Teenage superstar Joseph Suaalii declares for Samoa ahead of RLWC2021
By Steve Mascord
COACH Matt Parish has just two words to sum up the NRLâ€™s most heralded young player, Joseph Suaalii, throwing his lot in with Toa Samoa: â€œHow good!â€
â€œHa ha,â€ he added.,â€œthere maybe more!â€
The Sydney Roosters star, 19, admitted to having be sounded out by Australia coach Mal Meninga but said his loyalty to his family had powerfully influenced his decision to join the team that will line up against England at St James Park on October 15.
â€œFor family reasons, I have decided to pledge my allegiance to Samoa for the upcoming World Cup,â€ he told The Australian.
â€œThis 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.
â€œI personally called him on Tuesday to let him know of my decision. I canâ€™t thank him enough for considering me but this is about more than football.
â€œThis is about respecting my family and the sacrifices they have made for me throughout my career. My grandparents still live in Samoa and I am looking forward to honouring them and my parents by pulling on the Samoan jersey.
â€œOne day, I hope to play for Australia. I truly believe Samoa can do great things at this World Cup and I canâ€™t wait to be part of it.â€
Parish demurred when asked about the background of his contact with Suaalii, saying: â€œI would prefer not to not to individualiseâ€.
The Samoan side is increasingly packed with the cream of the NRL, including the likes of Jerome Luaii, Stephen Crichton, Josh Papalii, Junior Paulo, Brian Toâ€™o and Martin Taupau.
Hooker Danny Levi has assured Parish a knee injury suffered in the Super League play-offs is not serious. "I spoke to him and he's fine," said Parish.
See Samoa take on England in RLWC2021 - buy your ticket today at rlwc2021.com/tickets