“Joseph and his family are considering our offer, and we respect Joseph and his family’s request for some time to make the best decision for Joseph,” Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly said.
An answer could be forthcoming this week, but Souths are in no hurry knowing they already have him locked away for 2021.
Cameron Murray captained Newington’s First XV and had the Waratahs in hot pursuit before he signed with Souths, so he is better equipped than most to understand what Suaalii is going through.
He has not personally spoken to Suaalii, but can relate to the pressure he would be feeling from his King’s schoolmates. Many of those same classmates looked on in awe as Suaalii rifled a few passes out of the back of his hand during a couple of breaks in play on Saturday.
“Joseph is a lot younger and generated a lot more hype than I ever did at his age – he’s generated more hype than any other schoolboy in the history of the game,” said Murray, who like Suaalii once passed on the chance to play in an under-age Origin game for NSW because of school rugby commitments.
“Coming from a similar background I can kind of empathise with his position. He’s under a lot more pressure and he’s been talked about a lot more than I ever did.
“I feel sorry for him to be honest. It would be tough to rock up to school with a couple of headlines a week about you and what you plan to do.
“I don’t know where his head is at. I hope he has a good support base around him and he’s not stressing too much. You care for his welfare more than anything.
“He just needs to do what feels right and what is comfortable for him and his family.”
Murray, a future captain of Souths who extended his own deal this year until the end of 2025 season, said his love for Souths and his long history at the club, including his father having worn the famous cardinal and myrtle, made his own decision easy.
Souths skipper Adam Reynolds trained with Suaalii during the summer and said: “His skills were good but it was more his toughness. Young kids can come through the grades and shy away from the contact, but he was in the thick of things. He’s got a big future in whatever code he chooses.
“It’s a decision for him and his family. He’s just a kid. He’s certainly a talent we’d love to have.”
Rennie told reporters on Friday: “We can’t compete financially with what’s being offered by Souths, and if he [Suaalii] decides to take that route, well good on him. It’s going to be great for him and his family and he’s got a pretty good mentor [Bennett] there.
“But it’s important we’re in those conversations.
“I honestly believe that the great thing about our game is he could go to the Olympics next year and could go to a Commonwealth Games. He could play for the Wallabies and travel the world in what is a genuinely global game.”
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.