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Sonny Bill sees learning opportunity for Suaalii before code change

“Nine times out of 10 he'll take a great shot, it'll be great and look great and the game will go on, but if the tackle goes wrong, as I know from experience, you have to accept the consequences.”

Williams admires Suaalii's talent in the NRL and believes the winger does not need to make major adjustments in defence to shine in his new code.

“Technically, it might just be a little attitude thing that will help him, but just going to the sack 100 times a week in that different way, in a less pronounced way, nah,” Williams said.

“He tackled like he's done his whole life. It was just a tackle that went wrong, there was no malicious intent behind it.”

“I think he'll do well in the Union. I really think he'll do well. I think we just have to let him go his own way. Does he have the size? Does he have the skills? Does he have the potential? Yes, of course.”

Like Williams, former Wallaby and Queensland Origin representative Mat Rogers understands the significant challenges of switching between the two styles of play, recalling his own struggles with adapting defence after returning to the NRL from his time in rugby.

However, Rogers does not believe the move to union will bring the same challenges for Suaalii, as the Rooster has extensive experience in the 15-man system since he was a child.

Reece Walsh goes down after a punch from Joseph Suaalii.

“My problem when I moved from the union to the league was that I would attack people on the legs and then they would quickly put the ball in play,” Rogers said.

“I remember my partner in the middle always saying, 'Mate, stop tackling people's legs – you need to hit them on the chest, hold them down and put your body weight on them so they can't put the ball in play quickly.'

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“That's not the case in rugby. You want to get them on the ground quickly, so he learns to tackle, especially the full-backs. You want to get them on the ground, it's a totally different dynamic.

“So rugby league is about winning the scrum and controlling the ball. And you know, wrestling in the scrum and controlling that space is a very different thing in rugby.

“Joseph will be fine, he has played a lot of rugby, he is an enormous talent, he is one of the most gifted athletes to play both games.”