South Sydney Rabbitohs demand Sydney Roosters star Daniel Tupou in exchange for Joseph Suaalii release

There is potential risk and reward for both parties and it remains to be seen whether the Roosters will entertain the swap.

Joseph Suaalii in full stride while training with sprint coach Roger Fabri.

The Roosters had already proposed a $50,000 compensation payment in a bid to secure the release, which the Rabbitohs rejected.

If the Roosters aren’t prepared to swap Tupou, Souths will demand another player of a similar standing in order to release Sualii, potentially including one of the Morris twins, Josh or Brett.

If a deal can’t be reached, Suaalii is facing the prospect of sitting out two entire seasons. The King’s School student is on a $60,000 contract with Souths for next year, one that he doesn’t want to fulfil. The Rabbitohs were prepared to let him sit out next season and write off the money, just to spite the Roosters. However, the swap proposal was hatched in a bid to break the impasse so that both parties can benefit.

If the Roosters agree, releasing Tupou would free up the funds required to provide Suaalii with a salary akin to what he could earn elsewhere.

The development is the latest twist in a saga that has stretched throughout the season. Suaalii has been courted by both rugby codes, with the 15-man game dangling the carrot of an Olympic berth. While his preference is to play league, he is seeking get-out clauses in his next contract that could potentially allow him to cross codes.


Suaalii sat out the entire GPS rugby season in 2020 and is planning to do likewise next year, despite enjoying a boarding scholarship worth more than $65,000. His last game of football was for the Australian under-18s schoolboys rugby side, which toured New Zealand last October.

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Wallabies vs Argentina, Tri Nations: Hair pull, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Pablo Matera, Taniela Tupou, Dave Rennie

Argentina should be the darlings of world rugby, after overcoming pandemic hurdles to score an historic win over the All Blacks.

But their heart-warming story is taking a turn for the worse with their outstanding captain Pablo Matera at the centre of the storm.

Matera has been widely criticised for pulling the hair of the Wallaby hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa during the 15-all Tri-Nations draw with the Wallabies in Newcastle.

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Wallabies draw with Pumas


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Wallabies vs Argentina Tri Nations Rugby 2020: Taniela Tupou vs Nicolas Sanchez fight video, Big Mac

Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou was left far from impressed with Argentine Nicolas Sanchez after the latter’s push to the face sparked a mini scuffle.

Tempers between Australia and Argentina threatened to boil over just before half-time of Saturday night’s Tri-Nations clash after Tupou and Sanchez clashed.

After Tupou picked a loose ball up, Sanchez swatted it out of Tupou’s hands, leading to a few pushes between the two players.

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Wallabies set to switch Taniela Tupou, Allan Alaalatoa

Both Alaalatoa and Tupou are used to playing close to 80 minutes for their Super Rugby sides and while the shorter shifts have taken some getting used to, they also allow Rennie to tell his two tightheads to push themselves to their limit.

“Understanding that we may only get 40, we empty the tank,” Alaalatoa said. “That’s going to be the best thing for the team, getting more efforts out of us over a short amount of time. Both of us offer different skill assets and it’s a huge positive for the team, for both myself and Nela.

Allan Alaalatoa at Wallabies training on Tuesday.

Allan Alaalatoa at Wallabies training on Tuesday.Credit:Stuart Walmsley/Rugby Australia

“We continue to tell each other off the field that we have to continue to push each other and challenge each other on the field.”

Tupou told the Herald he would like more minutes in an ideal world but concedes his hands are tied given Alaalatoa is considered a world class operator at set piece.

“It’s a bit weird. I’m so used to playing 80 in Super Rugby and coming off at 60 or 40 it feels like I’ve done something wrong,” Tupou said.


“But we have obviously have a world class tighthead in Allan and it doesn’t really matter who starts or who’s on the bench. We work really well together and that’s something we’re trying to build here, at the Wallabies.

“Whoever plays, it doesn’t matter. We will just support them. It’s been good. Hopefully I get some more minutes this week. Let’s see if I play first.”

Rennie’s message to “empty the tank” has clearly been received by Tupou. The 24-year-old put so much into the first few scrums of the 27-7 loss at Eden Park that he looked weary prior to half-time.

Tupou admits that’s when he can often land himself in hot water against a scrum many consider the high benchmark in world rugby.

“Sometimes you fatigue, you try and do your own thing. That’s where you can get in trouble,” he said. “Teams like the All Blacks, you can’t do that. You have to be really good in what you do.

“There was one scrum at the end of the first half (in Auckland) where we did a call there and instead of me doing it and following it, I tried to do my own thing. And I was penalised.

“Little things like that – they’re not on. if you’re gonna do something, you have to do it for the team.”

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Tupou in, Ferguson out of NSW Origin squad

Blake Ferguson has been left out of coach Brad Fittler’s NSW State of Origin squad after Daniel Tupou earned a Blues recall as one of nine squad additions.

Fittler on Sunday named the next batch of Blues to fill his 27-man squad, made up of players whose teams dropped out in the second week of the NRL finals.

Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary headlines a list of four possible debutants, with uncapped Parramatta players Nathan Brown, Junior Paulo and Clint Gutherson also named.

Captain Boyd Cordner and fullback James Tedesco were the mere formalities, while Eels prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard has earned a recall after his 2018 series ended when he broke his jaw.

Mitchell Moses has missed out on being a back-up half after a strong start to a season that faded late, while Eels second-rower Ryan Matterson can also count himself unlucky.

But it is Ferguson’s omission that is most notable.

The Eels winger played in games two and three last year as NSW blitzed their way to a second straight series win.

And while he did not score a try until round 17 this year, he had remained a powerful runner of the ball out of his own end.

However he had a tricky end to the year defensively, before missing Saturday night’s semi-final with an ongoing knee issue that won’t require surgery.

Fittler has long insisted players left out of initial announcements can still be called into the squad.

But with Josh Addo-Carr a certainty and Nick Cotric and Josh Mansour the other options still playing finals, Tupou’s selection for the first time since 2015 appears the death knell for Ferguson.

“I’ve known Toups for a long time and have coached him in the City team and been part of NSW squads,” Fittler said.

“He has been fantastic this year. Not only is he a target (to kick to in attack), he brings the ball out of trouble.

“He is a complete player.”

Gutherson could also play wing if required, however it’s more likely that he would be another option to replace the injured Tom Trbojevic at right centre.

Meanwhile Keary’s selection comes after he has for so long been considered a Blues player in waiting.

After initially claiming he wanted to play for Queensland as a youngster, he was favourite to win the NSW No.6 jersey last year before concussions ruled him out.

This year it was almost a no-brainer, with the in-form Cody Walker the other likely five-eighth option.

“He’s another player who I have been dying to spend some time with,” Fittler said.

“I love the way he goes about his job. He does so many great things on the biggest stage.

“I am really looking forward to giving Luke Keary the chance to wear a Blue jersey.”

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Rebels to ‘paint pictures’ for referee in bid to stop Queensland Reds star Taniela Tupou

“There’s some stuff around the breakdown that we want them to keep an eye on,” Wessels said.

“There are some definite trends in the way the Reds play and everybody knows that Taniela Tupou is the most penalised guy in 2020 in Super Rugby.

“We want to paint pictures that help the ref make the right decisions in those areas.

“Taniela is a very good player and when he does things legally we are happy to have a fair contest with him and that’s all we are asking for.”


Tupou was the most penalised player in the Super Rugby season before it stopped due to COVID-19 which led to the creation of the Super Rugby AU competition.

He has ranked second in penalties within the AU competition and the Reds are sure to be angry about their star prop being so publicly singled out to the referee.

The Rebels have also named Brad Wilkin and Richard Hardwick as their flankers to give them two agile forwards to grapple with the Reds.

Rebels star prop Pone Fa’amausili was unable to prove his fitness after a hamstring injury although Wessels hopes he would be fit for next week if they progress.

Andrew Kellaway will return to the wing and Frank Lomani returns to halfback due to an injury to James Tuttle.

The Rebels will face a hostile crowd as big as 25,000 people but Wessels backs his side to stand up.

“We are always the underdogs – we have to scrap and fight for everything and that’s what makes it so rewarding when you have little successes,” he said.

“The team that’s going to win this is the team that handles the curveballs best.”

The Rebels play Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday at 7.15pm.

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