Right or wrong Sonny Bill Williams will be one of the best ‘middles’ in the NRL by the end of the seasonJuly 28, 2020
BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Right or wrong – the legendary Sonny Bill Williams will be back in a Sydney Roosters jersey before we know it. But anyone that thinks he will play anywhere else other than the middle as a replacement prop didn’t follow his time in Super League for the Toronto Wolfpack.
Williams isn’t the player he once was in the fact that he can’t cause chaos on the edge of a ruck and destroy teams whenever he feels like it. Time has caught up to the one they once dubbed ’Money Bill William$’.
In recent days your writer has had some heated discussion online with Roosters fans about how much Williams is worth and why – in their opinion – it’s no big deal that the most stacked squad in the premiership can add a two-time NRL champion and an All Black so close to the finals.
The $10 million Toronto human headline is worth more to the Roosters than any number experts or supporters can speculate.
Fact is it shouldn’t have been allowed.
But it has and here we are.
Williams was a different player when he came back to the NRL in 2013. He admitted it himself. A little slower but bigger and smarter. He played all over the place but easily handled his time up front against the best front-rowers in the competition.
When Williams and the Roosters won the title that year it was former back-rower Luke O’Donnell who played as a middle off the bench. A firebrand who gave the Chooks sudden bursts of intensity just as others were starting to struggle.
SBW will fill that role.
He just doesn’t have the capacity to play on an edge in the NRL in 2020.
His short stint at Toronto was nothing to rave about.
The pace was a little too much for him.
But here is the kicker for fans of the Tricolours.
Once he finds his feet, whether it’s the first week of the finals or the grand final, Sonny Bill Williams will be one of the best props in the game.
Just like that, click of the fingers.
The game overtook Josh Papalii a few years ago and he couldn’t play the same way, waiting for the ball out on a fringe. Ricky Stuart moved him to the middle and he’s now the best front-rower on the planet.
After a less than impressive debut for the Wolfpack against Castleford in February, Williams told press it wasn’t going to happen overnight.
“Things will come, bro. The magic will come as long as I do the little things well,” Williams said.
”Looking back, third man in, getting up fast, kick-chase, all that. That’s the foundations, the little things people don’t see. Pushing up, support play, that stuff.”
It didn’t improve much in the five games he played.
Super League is not the NRL quite obviously.
Who knows how many weeks it will take him to find the ‘magic’?
When he does, if everything clicks for the Roosters, God help everyone.
Imagine Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho rolling down the middle, then Sonny Bill and then James Tedesco lurking on the back of that…
The Roosters didn’t need any more help as they chase a three-peat.
You could start a new side in Perth tomorrow with half their squad and they would be an immediate title contender.
How much is Sonny Bill worth?
We may not find out until the grand final.