In a surprising twist of events the Dragons are reportedly considering making a play for Sonny Bill Williams.
This follows St George Illawarra missing out on disgruntled Bulldog Corey Harawira-Naera, who will be heading to Canberra on a lucrative two-year deal. Canberra can claim salary cap dispensation for the 2020 season due to John Bateman picking up a shoulder injury while playing for England. This means Corey could be available to play for Canberra as early as Round 12.
Following the Toronto Wolfpack’s collapse and exit from the UK Super League Sonny Bill Williams is eyeing a return to the NRL.
This is an evolving story, but from what I understand, if Sonny Bill Williams wants to return to the NRL in 2020, the Dragons are the only team that has sufficient wiggle room in their salary cap.
The Roosters do not legitimately have the available cap space unless SBW is willing to play for peanuts. The departures of James Graham, Tim Lafai and Issac Luke, plus salary cap dispensation available for the stood-down Jack de Belin, means the Dragons could offer SBW $250,000 for the remainder of the 2020 season.
His contract would need to be registered by 2 August and he’d need to serve a 14-day quarantine period, meaning he could be available for the Round 15 clash against the Broncos. His salary would be $250,000 for six regular-season matches. If you pro rata this over a 26-week season it amounts to almost $1.1 million.
The return of SBW would be quite a coup for the NRL and the Dragons. However, if this deal were struck, there would be no guarantee Williams would remain at the Dragons for 2021. His first preference would always be a return to the Roosters.
I don’t think the Dragons will want to spend the money on a 34-year-old player, but it’s certainly a good topic of conversation. Older Dragons fans will remember late-season overseas inclusions like Martin (Chariots) Offiah or how Ellery Hanley single-handedly took the Tigers to two grand finals.
But what do you think? Should the Dragons go for it? Or is SBW too old at 34 to make an impact? Is he worth all effort?