‘$10 million man’ receives huge honour after ground-breaking World Cup

Joseph Sua’ali’i was one of the stars of the World Cup but that wasn’t a surprise to many with the 19-year-old having already put a huge mark on the NRL during his short career.

Sua’ali’i helped lead Samoa to a ground-breaking first ever World Cup final as they became the first ever Pacific Island nation to achieve the feat.

Those World Cup performances paired with his incredible NRL career to date make the Samoan one of the hottest prospects in rugby league, however whether he stays is another matter with the Australian Rugby Union trying to sway Sua’ali’i with a potential $10 million offer to cross codes.

The 19-year-old will see his contract with Sydney Roosters expire soon and he hasn’t taken up the player option to remain for the 2024 season which has sparked plenty of speculation.

Despite all the surrounding drama Sua’ali’i had a break from it over the Christmas period as he returned to the villages where his grandparents live and bestowed with the great title ‘matai’.

The honour of being titled ‘matai’ is the act of being made a Samoan chief and with that Joseph’s name has taken a slight altering, something he confirmed on his Instagram.

The teenager shortened the honoured name to ‘Anavaotaus Iosefa Aukuso Sua’ali’i’ as he told the Sydney Morning Herald the reasoning behind it.

He told the SMH: “Usually in Samoa, they’ll call you by one of your village names, but I’d prefer to represent both my grandparents’ people because of the honours they’ve given me.

“I’ve combined the two and every time I go back to Samoa, they’ll greet me by my chief name.”

Whilst his time in Samoa will have been a welcome break from all the speculation the situation at the Roosters remains with the Sydney side incredibly having three of the four starting full-backs from the World Cup semi-finals, Sua’ali’i, James Tedesco and Joey Many.

Add onto that the salary cap issue and the swoop from the Australian Rugby Union, who are aiming to create a force of  a team for their home World Cup in 2027, and the situation for the teenager becomes difficult, even if he is now a Chief in his native Samoa.

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