A man described in NRL circles as “the art dealer” believes the Sydney Roosters will soon be forced to choose between James Tedesco or teenage superstar Joseph Suaalii.
Steve Nasteski, who lives up to his nickname as an actual art dealer, played a pivotal role in bringing a 12-year-old Suaalii to South Sydney and saw the vast potential in the youngster.
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Now at 19 years of age, Suaalii is on track to superstardom with his on-field exploits and has enlisted the help of agent Isaac Moses as the Roosters star’s brand continues to grow.
However, as Suaalii continues to shine on the pitch, things will soon come to a head given his burning desire to play at fullback.
With Tedesco occupying the spot for the foreseeable future, Nasteski predicted the Roosters being forced to make a brutal call between the two prized assets.
“I admire everything that James Tedesco has done and is doing – this is not a knock on Teddy at all – but I think he has to leave the Roosters next year or Joseph will be gone,” Nasteski told The Sydney Morning Herald.
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“Tedesco is a once-in-a-generation player, but Joseph is once in a lifetime. He is going to be the Michael Jordan of the NRL.
“No player, not Greg Inglis, not Izzy Folau, no one has had the impact of Joey in his first 18 games – and he is a fullback and he wants to be a fullback.
“I told him when he went to the Roosters his pathway would be blocked. Teddy is the first choice, and maybe Manu is the second. Joseph will be better than both of those guys. Manu can play anywhere, but as good as Teddy is I think it’s fullback or nothing.
“So I think the Roosters will need to move Teddy on next year. The price if they don’t will be Joey. He is a fullback and a superstar.”
Tedesco is contracted with the Roosters until at least the end of 2024, but moving him on from Bondi would prove to be a difficult task that could divide the fanbase.
Should the Roosters part ways with the 29-year-old, it would no doubt spark a feeding frenzy among the 16 other teams in the competition.
Suaalii is reportedly the subject of heavy interest from Rugby Australia who are prepared to shell out big money to bring him into rugby union as the Wallabies gear up for a bumper two years with a Lions tour in 2025 before hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2027.