Trent Robinson is happy for Sonny Bill Williams to box in the off season. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says he would have no problem with Sonny Bill Williams boxing in the off-season and returning to the NRL in 2014.
After Williams starred in the tricolours' 18-12 Monday Night Football clash win over Manly at Allianz Stadium, Robinson spoke passionately about rugby league doing more to keep stars like Williams and win back the likes of Israel Folau.
After addressing the media, Robinson was asked by rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns whether he would have an objection to Williams, 27, continuing his boxing career during the summer, even if it meant a late start to the 2014 pre-season.
"Yeah, I'd have no problem with it," Robinson told Triple M. "I was pretty cool with it last time. I was happy with his prep, I talked to him every week, and I know what kind of guy he is.
"If a guy wants to go and earn some money in another sport for a short period of time in the off-season, I'm OK with that.
"I know he's preparing well and he's a professional. I think to keep him in our sport... you say ‘no' and he has to go to another code to do it – it's only their gain. It's our loss."
When asked if there was any news on the bid to retain Williams, who is on a one-year contract, Robinson answered: "To tell you the truth, we haven't even talked about it.
"I'm sort of waiting for the hierarchy and Sonny to talk. I'm not putting pressure on it because I know there's going to be a lot of pressure from outside.
"Sonny's added huge value to the Roosters and also to our game."
Robinson then made the point of how important it is for rugby league to retain stars like SBW but also lure back its stars who are currently in other codes.
"Even I'm switching over and watching Israel Folau play; there's a sense of pride, when he plays well as well, for every rugby league supporter," Robinson said.
"We don't want that to happen with Sonny – going to see him play another code. We want to keep them in our game. We need to keep them in our game.
"We've got a great product but we need players like that... and if we can, it would be great to have Israel Folau back as well. If we can get Israel back, we must."
Poor goal-kicking from Boyd Cordner and Mitchell Pearce kept the Sea Eagles in MNF for longer than would otherwise have been the case, with a contentious high-tackle penalty against forward Justin Horo finally allowing the home team to open up an eight-point lead midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey believes a Sydney Roosters player could be in strife for an incident that may have left interchange forward James Hasson with a facial injury.
Toovey's players told him Hassan copped a stray elbow. The coach said he expected the video review committee to check the incident.
BEST OF ROUND 16: They're both off to St Helens next season and Penrith pair Luke Walsh and Mose Masoe revelled in the English conditions to propel their side to a 15-point win over St George Illawarra.
WORST OF ROUND 16: The predictability with which Gold Coast conceded tries on their right side after Jamal Idris broke his ankle in Newcastle. At times it was like an opposed training session; at others it looked unopposed.
WEIRDEST OF ROUND 16: Cronulla's Matthew Wright travelling from Auckland to Townsville via Sydney at the 11th hour when Beau Ryan withdrew from the game against North Queensland.
WHAT I SAW: England coach Steve McNamara chatting to English-born Sea Eagles five-eighth Daly Cherry-Evans in the tunnel at Allianz late on Monday. McNamara has already ruled out recruiting more players with dual eligibility for the World Cup, though.
QUOTE OF ROUND 16: "All week now I was just itching to get on. It was so hard watching the Origin." – James Tamou after his return from a disciplinary suspension.