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Sonny Bill Williams rubs salt in the wound he gave the NRL

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GIVEN the gutless manner in which Sonny Bill Williams slunk out of rugby league in 2008, the least he could have done was humbly return, admit his past mistakes and hope, rather than expect, to be welcomed back.

Instead, the exceptionally talented footballer looked like a man sentenced to a year of community service when he announced yesterday he would join the Sydney Roosters on a one-year deal.

Williams acted like he was doing us a favour by coming back to the NRL. He didn't even have the decency to talk in glowing terms about rugby league, or how he missed the game he grew up playing.

Instead he spoke at length of his "love" for rugby union and how it was a tough decision to leave the other code.

He couldn't even feign interest in playing for New Zealand in next year's World Cup because, "I have to see how my boxing commitments are going".

If not for an agreement he made with his "mate" and Roosters chairman Nick Politis three years ago, Williams would never have returned to league and would have been happy to continue playing as an outside back in union.

Williams thinks honouring a handshake with a mate makes up for walking out on a signed legal document four years ago.

Walking out on Canterbury is the hot topic he refuses to discuss. Greats like Hazem El Masri, who won a premiership with Williams in 2004, don't want him back in the NRL and believe he should apologise for the way he abandoned his teammates.

"Haz is entitled to his opinion and that is what I have to say about that," Williams said.

http://www.courierma...f-1226516133806

$BW should not have been taken back into the RL family, skilled no doubt, as a person? not for me or many NRL Fans.

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We all know what $bw is and what he's about and personally I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot barge pole, but he's here now for 1 year and the NRL should milk him and it for everything it's worth in terms of hyping up games, media attention and crowds etc. I can't see him playing in the rugby league world cup in 2013 so let's not cry over spilt milk, he's here for 1 year and the NRL should just hold their nose and make as much $ out of him as he does with all his antics.

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Williams obviously know which is the easier game to play, that's why he wants to stick with union.

He shouldn't have been let back into the game and that goes for others who have done the same.

Fortunatly, League abounds with talent and the likes of Williams isnt't missed, where in Union that isn't the case and Williams is a stand out player.

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What Walter said. The NRL should milk him for all they can, as should the people in charge at the RLWC. Come rain or shine he'll be back playing union in time for their world cup.

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He shouldn't have been let back into the game and that goes for others who have done the same.

Don't we heavily criticise rugby union for having done the same thing?

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Williams obviously know which is the easier game to play, that's why he wants to stick with union.

He shouldn't have been let back into the game and that goes for others who have done the same.

Fortunatly, League abounds with talent and the likes of Williams isnt't missed, where in Union that isn't the case and Williams is a stand out player.

I think he knows pretty much anyone not in a Roosters or officials jumper will be trying to get a decent shot in and that in 2013 SBW is going to get smashed a fair bit. Particularly seeing that he has to all intents and purposes dissed RL and made clear he would much rather be in the comfort of the All Black family.

Assuming he isn't 'injured' the Roosters/ Bulldogs game should be a cracker!

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Don't we heavily criticise rugby union for having done the same thing?

Yes.

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Didn't he apologise (in his own little way) a couple of years ago?

I bet the Roosters will pay him a million bucks and he'll spend half the time on the sidelines and the other half trying to, again, convince people he's a second rower.

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The Doggies have asked the NRL if they can play the Roosters at ANZ as the opening game of next season as they reckon such is the ill feeling against $BW that they will sell out the stadium as fans line up to give him some stick.

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I for one am all for it. I think theres two sides to this story. I can fully understand why some people arent happy with him, but a sportsman has a limited shelf life, and he's managed to cram an awful lot into the best years of his sporting life, and fair play to him for doing so. It'd be no good him looking back at 40 wishing he'd played Union or boxed, he's done the lot, and must be a supreme athlete to do so. Sure he's had to be selfish along the way but after he's retired he only has himself in the mirror to answer to, so i dont blame him for doing what he's done.

The plus side for rugby league is he's a top drawer player, crowds will be up when he's playing, there'll be greater media interest in the games, especially against the Bulldogs, and if you're still bitter take heart from the fact that any fellow NRL pro's who arent happy with what he's done will be looking to batter him up and down the park for the whole season, which should make for great entertainment for the rest of us

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Williams obviously know which is the easier game to play, that's why he wants to stick with union.

He shouldn't have been let back into the game and that goes for others who have done the same.

Fortunatly, League abounds with talent and the likes of Williams isnt't missed, where in Union that isn't the case and Williams is a stand out player.

http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/williams-gives-nrl-a-1m-boost-without-raising-a-sweat-20121113-29agy.html

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Don't we heavily criticise rugby union for having done the same thing?

I don't think he should have been 'allowed' back but it's nothing to do with rugby union, it's because of the way he has conducted himself. Clearly you don't want to stop clubs signing someone if they wish, nor would I want that to be the case but I wish the clubs had not 'wanted' to sign him, at least not for just one season. But they obviously feel the outlay is offset by publicity etc etc.

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He shouldn't have been let back into the game and that goes for others who have done the same.

isn't that what unioin did to league for a century or so?

People are allowd to play the sport of their choice regardless of their motivation.

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I for one am all for it. I think theres two sides to this story. I can fully understand why some people arent happy with him, but a sportsman has a limited shelf life, and he's managed to cram an awful lot into the best years of his sporting life, and fair play to him for doing so. It'd be no good him looking back at 40 wishing he'd played Union or boxed, he's done the lot, and must be a supreme athlete to do so. Sure he's had to be selfish along the way but after he's retired he only has himself in the mirror to answer to, so i dont blame him for doing what he's done.

The plus side for rugby league is he's a top drawer player, crowds will be up when he's playing, there'll be greater media interest in the games, especially against the Bulldogs, and if you're still bitter take heart from the fact that any fellow NRL pro's who arent happy with what he's done will be looking to batter him up and down the park for the whole season, which should make for great entertainment for the rest of us

I totally agree. He has a responsibility to himself first and foremost. However much we are disappointed about the way he left I think we are often guilty at judging sportsmen (and women) by completely different standards to ourselves. He wanted to try other things and is talented enough to do so at a high level.

If any of us woke up one morning and decided to do something completely different would we expect to be held to the same high standards so many are expecting of SBW?

Having said that I think the Roosters are daft to pay so much money for him as I bet he doesn't play even half a full season.

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isn't that what unioin did to league for a century or so?

People are allowd to play the sport of their choice regardless of their motivation.

The problem Money Bill has is that he walked out after a year of a 5 year contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs. That is why he is hated in Rugby League circles in Australia.

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Can't wait to see him run into a Sam Burgess shoulder!

I dont think its a given SBW would come off worst, the reality is it could end up with both of them out given their injury proneness, would be spectacular though :)

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The real story is that the NRL can afford to outbid rugby union federations and clubs for the very top players.

Now that, whatever SBW's off-field character, is good news.

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The problem Money Bill has is that he walked out after a year of a 5 year contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs. That is why he is hated in Rugby League circles in Australia.

Yes I know

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The problem Money Bill has is that he walked out after a year of a 5 year contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs. That is why he is hated in Rugby League circles in Australia.

Did Canterbury sue him for breach of contract or did whichever union it was (French ?) pay Canterbury out ?

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The real story is that the NRL can afford to outbid rugby union federations and clubs for the very top players.

Now that, whatever SBW's off-field character, is good news.

That's the way I see it also, should be shouting this a bit louder

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I for one am all for it. I think theres two sides to this story. I can fully understand why some people arent happy with him, but a sportsman has a limited shelf life, and he's managed to cram an awful lot into the best years of his sporting life, and fair play to him for doing so. It'd be no good him looking back at 40 wishing he'd played Union or boxed, he's done the lot, and must be a supreme athlete to do so. Sure he's had to be selfish along the way but after he's retired he only has himself in the mirror to answer to, so i dont blame him for doing what he's done.

It's not that he switched codes - Gasnier, Rogers and Tuqiri did the same around the same time. They, on the other hand, made the switch legally, honourably and above-board.

It is the way he went about it, which was disgraceful on more than one level. Not just $BW, but the way the French authorities nodded him through despite him being in breach of contract. The French Sports Minister at the time was a RU man, surprise surprise.

I disagree with having his return to RL blocked (we shouldn't sink to that sort of level), but I'm disappointed that an offer was made to him.

Here's hoping he gets a battering from his former teammates.

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I have the audio of SBW's signing on interview. As someone has already said he appeared dis-interested and talked of his love of Rugby Union ( I bet the Roosters were impressed with that).

At the end of the day Sonny is a tremendous athlete who is making the most of his talent while chasing as many dollars as possible. In my opinion theres nothing wrong with this but maybe he should remember his roots and talk up the game that produced him in the first place.

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Regardless of his reasons for coming back, i'm glad he has, even if it is only for one year. On his day he is without doubt the best player in the world. Im movin to Sydney in 7 weeks time and cant wait to watch him play week after week. Hopefully he'll have a good year and stay with us for a few more seasons, with the new TV deal, salary shouldnt be an issue.

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