SBW, Tuivasa-Sheck could bring Roosters into 2013 favouritism
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New Zealand's All Blacks wing Sonny Bill Williams vies with Argentina's (No. 8) Leonardo Senatore. AAP Image/AFP, William West
Legendary Rooster Anthony Minichiello looks set to be pushed sideways next year by the exciting teenage Kiwi Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Tuivasa-Sheck, turned 19 last month, has made more meters than any other player in the Toyota Cup, but it is how he does it that has the Roosters cock-a-hoop.
He has a side step like Langlands, and every time he gets the ball, he looks like he will either break the line or set up another runner. He was signed to the Roosters from Auckland where he was the captain of his school rugby league team Otahuhu College.
Tuivasa-Sheck balances his training with the Roosters Toyota Cup team with studying for a Bachelor of Education (Human Movement and Health Education). He attributes his huge progress to his coach Jason Taylor.
While the Roosters will struggle to play in the NRL semis this year, they will have a cracker of a team in 2013 if all goes to plan.
Current skipper Braith Anasta will play for Wests Tigers next season, and will likely be replaced by incoming Warriors 5/8th James Maloney, while the ageing Minichiello is likely to move to the right wing to make way for Tuivasa-Sheck.
Champion Sonny Bill Williams is the name that is really exciting everyone, not only at the Roosters but in the NRL. As a current New Zealand Rugby Union ambassador, it is not possible for him to sign with another team or alternative code for next season as it would violate the terms.
However, it is expected that Sonny Bill will complete his Kiwi commitments and then play a short summer season with Japanese Rugby that will earn him around $600k, before becoming a Rooster and Channel Nine regular. He is likely to squeeze a heavy weight boxing fight in also.
With so much talent and depth in the pack, the Roosters will have the luxury of SBW playing in Anasta’s pivot position if they choose, and move Maloney to the wing or challenge Tuivasa-Sheck for the fullback job. It is an enviable position to be in.
With SBW playing second receiver he would not have to make so many tackles and he could stay on the field for 80 minutes, a scary thought for any opposition team and could be the making of Mitchell Pearce who has not grown as a playmaker alongside Todd Carney and Anasta.
The return of the freakish SBW would also offer the NZ rugby league team a massive boost as he would team up with Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson, but given that he played his first senior rugby league for the Canterbury Bulldogs and he has not played league for NZ since 2008, it will be interesting to see if he is approached to play State of Origin for the Blues next year.
If a technical loophole does allow SBW to play for the Blues, he would also be eligible to play for the Kangaroos. With Polynesians now dominating the NRL, the Commission must address the eligibility laws so that International Rugby League can flourish and Origin maintains its credibility and it original philosophy – Queenslander versus New South Welshman, state against state.
No one can blame any player for turning his back on his country to play three Origin games each year that will earn him $60k and likely to rise to $150k.
We have already had the Kiwi James Tamou play for Australia and NSW this year, and now Sam Kasiano, born in Auckland, could play for the Queensland Maroons in Origin III.
This farcical situation must be corrected as it has got out of hand and all player Managers are goaled on how much their clients earn and are very good at convincing them that they only have a short footy life and should choose the money over their birth certificate.
Wonder who Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will play for?
The Roar is highlighting Scott’s piece which broke the news of Sonny Bill Williams’ return to the NRL.
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