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The moment the Blues knew Suaalii was Origin material

There was a tackle made by Joseph Suaalii during the NRL’s Magic Round that convinced True Blue Greg Alexander that the 18-year-old Roosters winger was Ampol State of Origin material.

Alexander, who is an advisor for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues as well as a television commentator for Fox League, told this week’s edition of Behind Blue Eyes about Suaalii’s performance during the 31-24 Roosters win over the Parramatta Eels.

He ended up scoring two of the Roosters’ five tries, made 18 runs for 155 metres, had two line-breaks and four tackle-busts.

“He is a special talent and it’s not the fantastic things that made Freddy (NSW coach Brad Fittler) and I and the rest of the coaching staff think he was ready for Origin footy, it’s how tough he is,” Alexander said.

“I watched the Magic Round game where the Roosters took on the Eels… the Roosters received the ball from the kick-off with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves taking the hit-up.

“Joseph Suaalii took play two into the teeth of the Parramatta pack.

“He crashed into Junior (Paulo) and Reagan (Campbell-Gillard) and still got the ball away.

“So he’s a tough young boy and very talented.”

Suaalii was named in the NSW Blues extended squad for the 8 June Ampol State of Origin series opener after just 12 NRL games – five last year and seven so far in 2022.

“He’s picked as one of the reserves, so he only comes into the side if someone falls over before Wednesday night,” Alexander said.

“But I’ve got no doubt he could handle it – absolutely no doubt.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales 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.