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Suaalii in no rush for NRL return

Josh Spasaro

Like the way he moves on a football field, star Sydney Roosters winger Joseph Suaalii has plenty of time and doesn’t want to rush an NRL comeback.

That’s not to say he isn’t ready after his impressive performance for North Sydney in its 28-18 win over Western Suburbs in Round Four of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday night.

The precocious 18-year-old talent had a brilliant outing for the so-far undefeated Bears, running for 211m from 19 carries.

Those runs coming out of yardage were proof Suaalii has the toughness to match his freakish skills at NRL level, which is why there is already so much hype around him despite his age.

Just as important for the Roosters, the Glenmore Park product is back to full fitness.

The Roosters sorely missed Suaalii, before they bowed out during the second week of the finals last year.

The Bondi outfit is set to travel to Brisbane to take on the Broncos in Round Five NRL action on Friday night.

Boom rookie Suaalii is on the cusp of a return from a foot (Lisfranc) injury he suffered in Round 16, which required surgery.

“My foot is going well, feeling good,” he told nswrl.com.au.

“I’ve been making sure I’ve been looking after it and doing everything I can to stay on top of it.

“I’m happy here learning the game. But there’s no rush. I’m just trying to go game-by-game.

“I love it here learning from the older boys.”

Along with his incredible physical attributes, Suaalii possesses a great deal of mental toughness.

He moved on quickly from his injury setback last year, despite the fact the Roosters didn’t progress to a Preliminary Final berth.

 “It was tough watching (his Roosters teammates last year),” he said.

“You want to be playing. But at the end of the day the injury happened.

“I couldn’t dwell on it. It happened and I couldn’t look at the past. I just had to keep looking forward and see how I could come back better.”

Unselfishly, Suaalii said a strong Bears pack helped him play well and further his first-grade ambitions against the Magpies on Sunday night.

There was no weak link in the North Sydney forward pack.

Fletcher Baker (14 runs for 115m), Jordin Leiu (14 for 135m), Renouf Atoni (13 for 110m and a try), Faamanu Brown (10 for 104m and a try), Toa Mata’afa (13 for 145m), Tuku Hau Tapuha (13 for 128m), Naufahu Whyte (12 for 113m) and Terrell May (17 for 191m) all laid a platform for an exciting backline.

“Our forwards, especially Terrell and Tuku (impressed), and then the outside backs came in to take some runs,” Suaalii said.

“It helps us out a lot. Big credit to our forwards.

“(May) came in for our-pre-season (from Blacktown Workers) and he’s shown that he can play first grade.

“I believe he can play first grade. He works bloody hard. He comes from out west, where I’m from, so I knew of him.”

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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