Warriors Looking To Sign Sonny Bill Williams: Good Or Bad Move?

I’m not sure where the push is coming from, I’m guessing lazy journos getting fed “news” from an anxious player managers, but there are been a bit of news recently regarding the future of Sonny Bill Williams.

First there was talk he wanted to go back to New Zealand and play for the All Blacks. Then came news Newcastle were interested in signing him. We had the ARU having to tell the press they would not be signing him and now the New Zealand Warriors have made public their interesting in signing him.

Does that all sound erratic and confused to you? Yeah….sounds like Sonny Bill Williams to me too!

Now in Sydneys Sunday Herald we had regular Sonny Bill Williams sympathizer, Danny Weidler asking NRL players if Williams ban on playing in the NRL should be lifted.

Let me make on thing clear right now, there is no ban what so ever on Sonny Bill Williams playing in the NRL.

If a clubs wants to sign Sonny Bill Williams they are free to do so, however they will have to negotiate a transfer fee with the Bulldogs as, the terms that Williams agree’d to when he settled with the club, they basically hold the rights to his NRL contract until 2013.

So Weidler asking players like Jarryd Hayne and Petero Civoniceva is Williams NRL ban should be lifted, at best was a misunderstanding on his behalf. At worst, the guy was misleading players to try and stir controversy.

What ever the case, Williams is available and the Warriors have made their interest public.

With an aging and injury prone Steve Price whining his way off the books at the end of this season (Did you hear him have a cry about losing the captaincy of the Warriors?) and Brent Tate also coming off the books at seasons end, the Warriors have some salary cap space to burn for 2011.

Couple that with the fact the club actually spends below the NRL’s salary cap limit anyway, it means the Warriors could make Williams the highest paid player in the NRL if they wish too.

Its a gamble.

Aside from the fact he is injury prone (He’s even had two major injuries playing French Rugby Union!) and hasn’t played the game in about two years, Williams is, how do you put it delicately…..a basket case!

In the weeks leading into him walking out on the Bulldogs over night and flying to France, Williams stated his desires to be a Bulldogs captain, a New South Wales Origin player, a Kiwi captain and an All Black as well as being a leader for Polynesian players (Apparently the fact he is whiter than Alan Tongue didn’t matter!).

So this is a kid thats all over the place. Throw in his injury problems and the fact that forwards in the NRL have gotten a lot bigger in the short space of time he was gone, and you have a very unreliable investment on your hands if thats the way the Warriors want to go.

With all of that said, the PR boost for the Warriors would be huge. It was raise the clubs profile (I’d argue that right now NZ fans are so disheartened by the Warriors that other NRL clubs are more popular in NZ than they are!), it would boost their crowds, and hey, the teams on field performance could use a kick in the backside as well.

If they could get him on around $400,000 a year, he’d be a good buy, one that would pay for itself. Anything more and its too much, but having said that, I think spending that extra money is more desirable than not spending it, or spending it on crap.

I personally don’t believe the Warriors have a real shot at signing him anyway. I think he’ll end up playing for a “Super” 14 Rugby Union team in New Zealand, probably as a center.

Will the NRL miss him?


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