Warriors boss Cameron George confirms late twist in SBW saga

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Jul 2020, 5:23PM
Sonny Bill Williams signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Wolfpack in late 2019. (Photo / Getty)
Sonny Bill Williams signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Wolfpack in late 2019. (Photo / Getty)

Warriors boss Cameron George confirms late twist in SBW saga

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Jul 2020, 5:23PM

Warriors chief executive Cameron George has confirmed the club is interested in signing Sonny Bill Williams to a short-term deal and that they have made contact with Williams' agent around his availability - contrary to earlier reports.

Williams is a free agent after the Toronto Wolfpack withdrew from the English Super League season due to financial hardship brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and a number of clubs have been linked to the former NRL Premiership winner.

While the Sydney Roosters have emerged as a frontrunner to bring Williams back to the NRL, George confirmed the club was interested in integrating him into the squad in Terrigal.

"We have spoken to his manager, absolutely," George said. "He was going to speak to Sonny last night and let us know. He wasn't going to muck us around."

Williams hasn't played in the NRL since the 2014 season, where he was a staple of the Roosters' pack in a season that ultimately ended in the preliminary finals against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

During the 2014 campaign, Williams made a big dent for the Roosters, averaging 24 tackles and 114 running metres per game. Spending the past five years playing union, Williams returned to the 13-man game with the Wolfpack this year with some success but was not posting remarkable numbers by any means.

Now halfway through the season, the Warriors sit just two wins outside of the top eight and are a very real chance of making a play for the post-season if they can start to string some wins together – something that has been an issue for them in the past couple of seasons.

While the Warriors believe he would make an impact on the field, George said his off-field presence would make him more valuable.

"I think when I look at the opportunity with Sonny, and let's not forget you've got stars that have to align for that to happen, is where our group's at at the moment, he'd be the greatest morale booster for our group.

"Imagine him hanging out with our young players during this period, leading them through it, helping the guys on and off the ground. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity for the playing group and coaching staff to work alongside an athlete of his stature. I think he'd add value on the field for a short period of time. To me, I feel like if he wanted to come and join us it would be great for our group that are over in Australia to have someone like him come and play for us for a period of time."

George confirmed the club was also interested in Wolfpack centre Ricky Leutele, who played more than 120 NRL games for the Cronulla Sharks between 2010 and 2018, with the Warriors set to lose outside backs Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu'a after this weekend's match against the Roosters due to personal reasons.