BROWNIE: Sonny Bill’s return a great thing for NRL
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams celebrates after scoring a try against Ireland(AP Photo/SNPA, John Cowpland)
- Sydney Roosters news
- Rugby Union news
- New Zealand All Blacks news
- Rugby League news
- NRL news
- Sonny Bill Williams news
- 2013 Wallabies squad news
Back when I started coaching Flegg at St George, my then assistant coach was Steve Price, the current Dragons head coach. As part of his job at the club, Steve watched all the SG Ball matches and kept a close eye on the competition.
And Pricey said that Sonny Bill Williams is a player you have to go and watch.
And what a player he was! Even then it was clear that he could become one the greatest ever.
You could just see it in the way he harnessed his natural gifts in terms of his physique and his wonderful ball playing skills.
When he finally burst into first grade as a young kid, it was in a trial match against the Dragons on the Gold Coast. He was playing in the centers then and he struck me as a combination of Gordon Tallis and Brad Clyde: big and athletic, with magnificent skills and very agressive.
He killed us that day, and he’s been doing more of the same to his hapless opponents ever since.
Which is why we should embrace him coming back to the NRL. It’s a huge advertisement for the code.
Across three sports now, Sonny Bill has proven himself to be one of the world’s best athletes: he’s won an NRL grand final, played for New Zealand in both codes, won a World Cup in Rugby Union, and won the New Zealand Heavyweight boxing title.
It’s an impressive CV.
With the addition of Sonny Bill and James Maloney next year, the Roosters will very hard to tip against in 2013.
I think Brian Smith will play him in the backrow. And after 8-10 games, I predict that Sonny Bill will be the premier backrower in the game, as good if not better than anyone currently playing for NSW and Queensland.
The other remarkable thing is that Sonny Bill is still only 26 years old. Touch wood, if his body holds up, he should be able to play until the age of 33 or 34. That’s if he wants to.
I don’t see the one year deal as being a problem for him or the club. As long as his number one focus is on doing well for the team, he will have a great year.
Beyond that, who knows where he’ll end up. I just can’t wait to see the big fella back in the NRL.
Former Dragons coach and player Nathan Brown writes an exclusive weekly column for The Roar. Brown, who played 172 games for the Dragons and coached them for a further 142 games, is currently the head coach at the Huddersfield Giants in the UK Super League.
Passionate about your league? Then sign up to The Roar's brand new daily league email, delivering Roaring articles directly to you day-in, day-out. You'll love it!
Click here to join now!
Looking to join The Roar team? We're searching for an experienced Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. Yes, this does mean you get to work with the site all day long! If you're a digital media sales star, we want to hear from you. Apply now.