Sonny Bill Williams was about to jet off on a Mediterranean island break when the call came in from Roosters coach Trent Robinson. Robinson managed to convince Williams to sack off the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean and swap the sun loungers on a warm European beach for the winter in Sydney and another shot at NRL.
You could be forgiven for asking yourself what exactly is going on at the Roosters that has possessed them to make contact with Williams and ask him to come and play for them again. It has after all been more than six years since the 34-year-old graced the NRL, on that occasion, playing an integral role in the Sydney Roosters’ championship-
winning season of 2013. That was then though and this is now, Williams is not the same man that crossed the whitewash for fun as he did during that memorable season for the Roosters.
"I don't think
Sport (@telegraph_sport) July 30, 2020
Super League Car Crash
Describing the Kiwi’s Super League adventure as a car crash is a bit strong but Sonny Bill Williams’ time at the Toronto Wolfpack was somewhat of a disaster. Williams joined the Canadian outfit in the richest deal in rugby history but there were many at the time who had raised an eyebrow or two at the financial lengths that the Wolfpack we’re going to secure his signature. What could they see in Williams that the rest of the rugby world couldn’t? The signs were there from 2018 when he was playing for the All Blacks that he was beginning to drop off the pace.
In fact, the feeling amongst those that followed rugby union was that his impact was limited to that off the bench only. So when Toronto decided to give him $9m over two seasons, rugby fans around the world had a bit of an out-of-body experience.
Fast forward to the present day and by the time Williams left Toronto they were last in the Super League table having lost all of their six games. Most people’s suspicions were confirmed over those games as the forward looked slow and
cumbersome. Williams’ handling also seemed to have gone as he was seen spilling many balls in the tackle and losing possession on countless occasions. Those types of mistakes are the costliest in rugby league and there’s nowhere to hide when you’re guilty of them.
Could Williams Be Of More Use Off The Field Than On It?
With all of William’s recent Super League adventure in mind now, you can see why the world of rugby league was quite perplexed that the Roosters came calling. But it does make sense if you look at it this way, for starters, the Roosters are the outright favourites in all of the 2020 rugby betting sites to win the Grand Final in the future
markets. Indeed, anyone betting on rugby will see them ahead of the nearest challengers the Eels.
#BREAKING: Sonny Bill Williams has broken his silence on his
spectacular return to the NRL – saying he's excited by the challenge of rejoining
the Roosters. @Danny_Weidler #9News #9WWOS #NRL pic.twitter.com/12ZdQBhV7n
News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) July 28, 2020
This suggests that the Sydney outfit has already settled on a winning formula on the pitch and Williams’ inclusion isn’t necessarily to improve their chances of winning a Grand Final. Rather, given how experienced the 34-year-old is, you can imagine how influential he would be to everyone at the club just by being around. You can’t put a price on that sort of understanding of the game and how beneficial it could be to the younger players at the Roosters.
That’s not to say that William’s contribution as a player will be totally redundant. He may still have one or two rampaging runs or electric side-steps left in him, but at the twilight of his career, attention may now be turning to what he can offer from inside the
change room instead of on the field.
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