Sport

SBW has Chooks crowing

FOR a couple of reasons I was lukewarm about the return of Sonny Bill Williams to the NRL this season.

He had walked out on his team in the dead of night, he hadn't played the game for five years and he seemed more interested in fighting overweight veteran boxers than putting his body though the rigours of pre-season training.

All the hype, I reasoned, was misplaced but what a poor judgment that was.

Not only was SBW man of the match in Friday's minor premiership decider, he was the difference between the two teams.

Okay, so he ricocheted off Greg Inglis when the Souths fullback scored the first try of the match but from then on he was simply sensational.

His instigation of the game-defining try at the 60-minute mark was a mixture of strength, speed and pure genius.

The fact that SBW was in doubt before the game with a hamstring injury is further evidence of not just his physical durability but also his mental toughness.

I'm not exactly sure what he was doing as he ran on to the field last Friday night but with eyes skyward and hands cupped it did appear as though he was seeking outside assistance - and I'm not talking about peptides.

The Roosters are by no means a one-man band. Their halves were superb against the Rabbitohs and their forward pack outstanding.

Souths had their big guns too, just not as many.

The respective game breakers were expected to be SBW and Inglis and in that regard it was a one-horse race.

Because the Rabbitohs completed only eight of 17 sets in the second half, Inglis was given few opportunities to get his hands on the ball.

And the Roosters were clinical in kicking away from the brilliant fullback, restricting his time and space.

But while a Porsche or a Ferrari is not an off-road vehicle, as someone who is constantly branded the No.1 player in the game, Inglis needs to get his hands on the all more.

If the ball doesn't come his way he has to go looking for it.

As far as SBW is concerned, speculation on his future in the NRL is clouded. He is clearly his own man and sets his own agenda and he will announce his plans when he is good and ready.

A return to rugby union seems the most likely option with the World Cup in 2015 and a berth in the New Zealand Sevens team for the 2016 Olympics extremely palatable baits.

But surely, after the manner in which he has dominated in the NRL this season there is optimism he might stay - at least for one more year.

The next month will tell us much.

Topics:  nrl, rabbitohs, sonny bill williams, sydney city roosters


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