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Roosters prodigy Joseph Suaalii would welcome the chance to play in the NRL before he turns 18 but teammate James Tedesco wants the hype around him toned down.

Fronting the media for the first time on Monday, the 17-year-old showed poise and maturity in the wake of his impressive effort on Saturday when he scored two tries in his senior debut for North Sydney in the trial against Canberra.

The Roosters have asked the NRL to make an exception to the rules so the precocious utility back can join their first-grade ranks before his 18th birthday on August 1.

However, the ARL Commission is awaiting more information from the club before they decide.

"One hundred percent I feel that I'm confident [enough] in myself to play [NRL], but I know I have a lot of steps with what I need to do, on and off the field, to get to that point," Suaalii told

"[The application process] is out of my hands. I don't have anything to do with that. I just receive feedback [about the request]."

Tedesco, the 2019 Dally M Medallist, said Suaalii was clearly gifted but hopes he'll be allowed to grow without intense attention.

"I had a good chat to him about not reading too much into it because whether it's good or bad it can play on your mind a bit," Tedesco said.

Stand aside: Suaalii stars in first senior match

"I know everyone's talking about him a lot, he's a very switched-on kid and we all know how talented he is, but we've just got to let him be 17 and let him develop. He'll have his time soon.

"He's had the most [hype] I've ever seen, I think. Everyone's really excited, and so they should be because he's such a talent, but we've got to not put too much pressure on him.

"If everyone keeps talking about him, if he doesn't come out and score three tries in his first game everyone's going to be disappointed. You've got to remember, he's still in school, he's only a young kid."

Suaalii, who starred at fullback as a Rabbitohs junior but played centre for North Sydney, is taking the scrutiny in his stride.

He credited his parents with giving him a strong grounding.

"I'm aware [the focus] is there, but it's not hard. You kind of have to embrace it and say I'm happy to be here," he said.

"Not many people get to be where I am at the moment. I have to take it and be grateful. I'm aware that there's a lot of expectation and pressure, but I don't really dwell on it.

"I'm not really focusing on it; I'm just focusing on playing good footy, trying to learn as much as possible."

The rising star said he felt "comfortable" playing in the NSW Cup trial, in which he held his own in all areas.

Teen sensation Joseph Suaalii in action for North Sydney.
Teen sensation Joseph Suaalii in action for North Sydney. ©David Hossack /NRL Photos

Hooker Sam Verrills, like Tedesco, has been impressed with Suaalii's character and composure beyond his years.

"He handles [the hype] really well, he's a real humble guy and he's an exciting prospect. I think that showed on the weekend with how good he played in reserve grade," Verrills said.

"He's got a long future ahead of him ... He's a pretty smart kid, I don't think he needs much advice from me."




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