Rugby league's most famous teenager is nearing a premature NRL debut, according to new reports that the governing body may allow him to play before his 18th birthday.
Joseph Suaalii would currently not be allowed to make his first grade debut for the Sydney Roosters until he turns 18 on August 1st.
However, The Daily Telegraph reported today that the ARL Commission is expected to provide the boom rookie with an exemption, so that he wouldn't have to wait until round 21 to make his debut.
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Suaalii got his first taste of the spotlight on Saturday afternoon, scoring two tries for the North Sydney Bears in a Canterbury Cup trial against the Canberra Raiders.
It's not clear yet what position Suaalii would play in the Roosters' set-up, with his preferred fullback spot well and truly filled by James Tedesco.
He played in the centres for the Bears on the weekend, and with young gun Billy Smith already out for the season, the Chooks are short on outside back depth.
The move is likely to antagonise fans of other clubs, with Newcastle faithful noting that their own teenage star Bradman Best was forced to wait until he turned 18 late in the 2019 season to make his debut.
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The rule was brought in to ensure young players had the mental fortitude to handle the rigours of first grade.
Former 16-year-old debutant Jordan Rankin said on SEN radio program Mornings with Matt White late last year that it's not just simply a case of "if you're good enough, you're old enough".
"He looks like an absolute talent, he's skillful, I've seen his videos, I've seen what he's about, he's carving up the younger competitions and there's no doubt that he's a big kid who is dominating his age group," he said.
"But, if you haven't played against men or at that level it's difficult."
If Saturday's trial performance is anything to go by, Suaalii will have no issues with the physical rigours of first grade – and the ARL's commissioners have reportedly asked the Roosters to supply information and data proving Suaalii was emotionally ready for the top flight, while also juggling his HSC commitments.