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The Australian Rugby League Commission today approved an application from the Sydney Roosters to allow Joseph Suaalii’s contract to be registered as an NRL player in the NRL Telstra Premiership, prior to turning 18.

In making the decision, the Commission considered a range of information including:

  • Results of independent medical and psychological assessments;
  • The individual circumstances of the player’s development to this point, including the fact that he is only a few months from his 18th birthday; 
  • A welfare and education management plan provided by the Sydney Roosters

The NRL also met with Suaalii, his father and Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

In approving the application, the club has agreed to create a wellbeing and mentoring plan, a gambling and alcohol management plan and an assurance Suaalii completes year 12.

NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the Commission requested a range of assurances and independent expert advice prior to make a decision to grant this  exemption. 

“This has been a rigorous process. Our decision is based on the independent advice of experts and information gathered from discussing Joseph’s school performance and discussions with the club and Joseph’s family,’’ he said.

“Given Joseph turns 18 in just four months time, the conservative approach the Roosters are taking in managing Joseph’s career, and the comprehensive education and wellbeing plans that are being implemented, the Commission decided to grant the club permission for Joseph’s contract to be registered prior to him turning 18.

“We will continue to work closely with the Roosters to ensure the club complies with the plans and programs that have been put in place.”