Putting his money where his mouth is, Sonny Bill Williams has offered to give half his 2013 Sydney Roosters salary to Quade Cooper in a bid to lure the ex-Wallabies five-eighth to the NRL club.
But Roosters recruitment boss Peter O’Sullivan, who almost signed Cooper to the Melbourne Storm in 2008, doubts whether the Queensland Reds playmaker can now cut it in league.
Williams made the surprise offer after it was announced his good friend Cooper would make his professional boxing debut on the undercard of the ex-All Black’s WBA international heavyweight fight with South African veteran Francois Botha in Brisbane on February 8.
“I would go as far to say as I would give him half my pay packet just to lure him across,” Williams said.
“That’s not just words. I would really do that.”
Cooper – sitting next to Williams at the Brisbane announcement – quickly warmed to the idea.
“He’s one of the top earning players in the world – you do the math,” he smiled.
Cooper is considering a code switch after receiving a downgraded, incentive-based offer from the Australian Rugby Union.
And Williams said a recent report that claimed no NRL club was interested in Cooper should be taken with a grain of salt.
“I have been there when clubs have rung up and enquired about his services,” Williams said.
“I have no doubt he can succeed in the 13-man game.”
But the Roosters have not been calling, according to O’Sullivan.
“Whether the NRL would look at that (Williams offer), there’s a million things to discuss before anything like that happened,” O’Sullivan told AAP.
O’Sullivan saw Cooper, who grew up playing league with current Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, as a prospective fullback.
“But could he handle the high ball?” O’Sullivan said.
“And at fullback there is fairly brutal contact. It’s a skill set he has never been tested at.
“He is an incredible talent but it is another thing being an NRL player.”
Williams said he would discuss his offer with Roosters supremo Nick Politis but an NRL spokesman said it would only be seriously explored if the NRL club tabled it.
“Players have to go under the salary cap at their true value,” he said.
“I can’t rule anything in or out until someone puts it forward, but players can’t do that.”