Don’t underestimate Sonny Bill Williams
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams celebrates after scoring a try against Ireland(AP Photo/SNPA, John Cowpland)
When is the sporting world going to recognise Sonny Bill Williams as a very special footballer?
The 27-year-old Auckland born Kiwi’s outstanding natural ability has been somewhat clouded by his 2008 decision to walk out on his contract with the Bulldogs to switch to rugby in France with Toulon.
By acceptable behaviour standards, that wasn’t one of SBW’s shrewdest moves, although acceptable behaviour hasn’t been the Bulldogs’ strong suit of late.
But this discussion is all about talent, a commodity SBW has in abundance.
As a rugby league second rower, and rugby centre, his basic talent is that of a super athlete.
Full stop. Every other aspect is a bonus.
His size – 194cm tall and stopping the scales at 104kgs – is bolstered by his speed, his ball-handling, his uncanny ability to off-load under attention and pressure, and his defence.
And the football brains he was born with, it’s not possible to learn, just like ball-sense, you’ve got it or you haven’t.
SBW has got both alright, and some.
What a complete package, and yet he’s not recognised nearly enough. He’d be one of the very first picked in my side, in either code.
Which brings us to boxing, and his blossoming heayweight career with five fights for five wins.
SBW contends the ring gives him extra fitness over and above his football peers. The only worry from his football coaches is that he could cop a hiding.
SBW differs, he believes in his boxing ability as much as his football and he wants to go as far in the ring as he does on the paddock.
I have grave doubts about the ring, but only because he’s a close mate of Anthony Mundine, who just looks for trouble (as the Roar’s Tim Prentice pointed out so well yesterday).
If SBW teamed up with legendary boxing trainer Johnny Lewis, that’s a far better scenario, and would be instrumental in furthering SBW’s career.
As good as he is, we haven’t seen the best of Sonny Bill Williams on the football field, as Roosters fans will find out next year.
New coach Trent Robinson is contemplating playing his star recruit-to-be as a backrower. What a waste of talent.
SBW must be in the centres, where he can use all his attributes with room to move.
The same size paddock as rugby, but two less defenders. Picnic time for SBW and the Roosters.
It’s a shame we will never see the big bloke in rugby league’s Holy Grail – State of Origin.
But his presence in a black jumper will add spice to any Test across the ditch, especially playing outside Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran against Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, and Greg Inglis.
Bring it on.