Do the Roosters really need Sonny Bill?
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams gets away from Takehisa Usuzuki of Japan during the Rugby World Cup. Photo credit David Davies/PA Wire.
It is Round 18 and so far it has been a forgettable season for the Sydney Roosters. I will probably remember two things about the Chooks in 2012.
The first was that hail mary grubber by Boyd Cordner that led to the miracle Anthony Minichiello try in the dying seconds of the match against the Souths.
Although it was the opening round and not much was at stake, it might have been the most dramatic thing I have witnessed in my life, mainly because I was at the match. I remember losing my mind after realising my team had somehow pulled out an improbable win.
I remember looking at my mate’s dad, a long time Rabbitohs supporter. Watching his jaw drop was priceless.
The other thing I will remember is the rumours all season that they may be signing Sonny Bill Williams in 2013.
I think more than any other reason, including the whole Carney drama, this has led to the Roosters under performing. When you think about the merit of a new signing, you generally consider whether the acquisition is value adding.
Sonny Bill Williams is not exactly a franchise-changing player. For one thing, he can’t kick, he is not a playmaker: he is a second-rower. He is no doubt a great athlete and a great runner of the ball and everyone, by now, should have already seen Youtube footage of those offloads.
I am actually a big fan of SBW, I genuinely believe he is an once in a generation athlete that can succeed in any sport and that any NRL team would feel lucky to have him in their squad, even the Bulldogs. But, and it is a seven figure but, he comes with a very expensive price tag.
In fact, I don’t think I can come up with any current second-rower who can justify his expected salary. He was offered more than one million dollars per season to play in Japan. There is no chance the Roosters can afford anything close to that amount, due to the salary cap.
But in recent months, the Roosters have frantically cleared their cap space.
They shipped the captain, Braith Anasta to the Wests Tigers. Although arguably this is to make room for James Maloney, in reality the move has had a significant impact on team morale. Recently, they released long time winger, Sam Perrett, who has been in Bondi for eight years.
Fans would remember Perrett by his relentless runs out of dummy half and taking more hit-ups than any other player in the team. Isn’t this what SBW will be expected to do?
I am not saying SBW will not be an upgrade, but if you add a destructive runner to your squad only to take away the next best guy at the job, surely it seems that you lose as well as win.
The Roosters have a young forward pack that has a lot of potential. Second-rowers Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Mose Masoe, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are all crowd favourites. They are big units that dish out big hits and are solid players that are above average league standards.
With these guys around, is there really a need to get SBW? Shouldn’t the club focus on re-signing these guys instead?
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.