At just 16 years of age and having already competed in various sporting codes at a high level - rugby union, rugby league, athletics and Australian rules - Joseph Suaalii has been described by many as one of the true future stars of the NRL.
Although Suaalii will still be below the eligible age to play NRL in 2020, a first-grade start seems inevitable for the Harold Matthews Cup Player of the Year after signing on with the South Sydney Rabbitohs until the end of 2021.
In addition to a stellar year for the South Sydney under-16s, Suaalii has also proven himself in the 15-man code against players two years his senior before playing in the Australian Schools & U18s team that defeated New Zealand Schools for the first time in seven years.
Luckily for league fans, however, he certainly remains on track for an NRL debut in the coming years if his Harold Matthews Cup numbers are anything to go by - nine matches for 15 tries, six try-assists, 14 line-breaks, 11 line-break assists, 84 tackle-breaks, 10 offloads and 1028 run metres (114 per game).
The Rabbitohs’ under-16s captain helped his side all the way to the Grand Final qualifier in a season with highlights aplenty, including a four-try haul against the Sea Eagles in the opening week of the finals.
A member of NSWRL’s Future Blues contingent, continued development is what 2020 holds for Suaalii as he looks to show his ability in the state under-18 competition, the UNE SG Ball Cup. Watch this space.