It is rugby’s $5 million blunder.
Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii could have signed a multi-year deal with union for $300,000 five years ago.
Instead, rugby let him slip to league, he made his NRL debut in 2021, and has now signed a contract to return to the XV-man game for 18 times that amount.
CODE Sports understands Suaalii’s deal is valued at a total of $5.35 million over three years, set at $1.6 million in 2025, $1.8 million in 2026, and $1.95 million in 2027, making it the richest contract ever signed in Australian rugby.
But in September 2018, Suaalii could’ve been signed for a fraction of that price.
At the time, Suaalii was 15 years old, playing rugby at The Kings School while also performing well in league and basketball – which is the sport he was on scholarship for.
Given his incredible physical attributes and natural talent, hype was building quickly.
Suaalii and his father met…