Frankly, Pritchard is just like Sonny Bill Williams
Be forewarned: Penrith Panthers second rower Frank Pritchard could well be on a plane right now heading overseas to play for a French rugby union club.
Although the Panthers will do everything to stop that happening, Pritchard has had a rough time of it at the foot of the mountains.
Ever since he cast his 108kg body for the Panthers back in 2003, Pritchard has gone backwards and forwards in a career now rivaling fellow Kiwi superstar Sonny Bill Williams.
Besides the fact they are both big men with big reputations, outside of game time they seem to be the most laidback people you would ever meet.
Both Pritchard and Sonny Bill have been caught up in controversies not even the likes of Paris Hilton or Bill Clinton could match.
Pritchard, in particular, feared for his brother’s life after both he and his brother Tom were involved in an incident during an evening in the Liverpool area in February 2007.
Pritchard’s brother reportedly received four knife wounds, including one to the pulmonary artery. Frank was also injured after being stabbed in the hand, which led to him having an operation the afternoon after the attack.
Many around league circles thought the Kiwi international was to retire from the game indefinitely to spend more time with his family. Despite dong otherwise, Pritchard has struggled to cope with the issues surrounding both his form and future in the NRL.
Recent reports suggest the 24 year old Panthers player is unhappy at the foot of the mountains, despite having a pay check believed to be $300,000 dollars a season.
All of this surfaced due to Pritchard sitting out the second half of his side’s 40-6 loss to the Melbourne Storm at CUA stadium last Monday night.
Although Pritchard denies the injury was fake, the same cannot be said about his desire to leave Penrith.
He wants to move on and the Panthers will do everything in their power to avoid the controversy which led to the departure of Sonny Bill Williams from the Bulldogs.
But things are looking awfully familiar in regards to the Williams incident.
The road forward for Williams though was lost somewhat in 2005.
A severe knee injury plus several other minor injuries restricted Williams to only five games through the year, and he subsequently missed several international fixtures for New Zealand.
Williams had publicly expressed his frustration at his limited participation through the season stating, “More than anything, when you’re not on the field a lot, it’s tough mentally. You’ve got to be pretty strong mentally when you have injuries, and I’ve had a few”.
Off the field, Williams was also cast into the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
On August 17, 2005 it was revealed he had been charged with drunk driving. The Bulldogs fined Williams $10,000 for the incident and he was forced to appear in Waverley Local Court on September.
He was convicted of drunk driving, with a blood alcohol level of .075.
Then in 2007, Williams was caught in a compromising position with Australian model-ironwoman, Candice Falzon.
A photo taken by a mobile phone of the incident was published on the Daily Telegraph website.
Williams later apologised to his girlfriend over this incident. He said he was “ashamed and embarrassed” about his drunken encounter with Falzon.
To round things off, on June 17, 2007, Williams was caught by police urinating on a wall in a dark alley near a well known nightclub in Cronulla and was handed an infringement notice and fine worth $650.
Despite the obvious unrest in his lifestyle at Canterbury, Williams signed a five year deal believed to be worth over $2.5 million dollars. Everyone was made to believe that Williams was keen to spend the rest of his career at the Bulldogs.
From then on, the rest, as they say, is history.
Pritchard no doubt has that passport ready for action.
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