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Should Sonny Bill be welcomed back?

Daniel Anderson NRL.com Fri, Jul 13, 2012 - 3:58 PM

Should Sonny Bill Williams be welcomed back, Daniel Anderson thinks so. Copyright: NRL Photos

It’s been a long time since a player has polarised opinion like Sonny Bill Williams. Only a few days ago, he held a press conference to confirm his ridiculously lucrative 12-game stint in Japanese rugby union, followed by an easily decipherable admission that he will return to the NRL in 2013.

I understand there may be some people in rugby league who feel let down by his departure five years ago (especially the Bulldogs given they were building a team around him) but he has done his penance.

I first met Sonny Bill when he was 15 years old and the New Zealand Warriors were holding a training session for potential scholarship candidates. After about 10 minutes everyone was suitably impressed and I went over to speak to him about joining the Warriors elite training squad. “Sorry but I’m already contracted to the Bulldogs,” was the courteous reply. Bugger.

I was fortunate to coach him on a tour and for a few games in 2003 with the New Zealand Kiwis. Even though he was still a teenager, he was a bona fide star. Back then he was very quick, very elusive and tremendously skilful. Add to that he was a good fella and popular team-mate.

The Australian Rugby League Commission have plenty on their plate, but a genuine star quality player in Sonny Bill Williams returning to the NRL is like an early Christmas present. Consider the spectators who will venture to games to see him up close, consider the sponsors who will leverage their marketing spend on his charisma and consider the media that will devote thousands of words on his person.

I sit on the side of the fence that the NRL should welcome Sonny Bill Williams back.

I love watching the game'ss best players, and I am confident that barring injury, he will be an automatic man-of-the-match contender in every game he plays.

GOLDEN POINT

I read that few people are enamoured with golden point anymore.

I am comfortable with whatever decision is made on draws/golden point/extra-time, but the decision should be considered with altruistic motives. I see the fear that referees have in blowing a penalty and giving pot shot field goal position. I like golden point but I also recognise that due consideration must be given to bring the referee back into the equation.

Was the Roosters v Sharks a poor golden point game, or was it an example of poor field goal set up and execution? There have been some outstanding golden point finishes, and of course by that I mean outstanding field goal exponents.

A field goal is in the rules of rugby league, it’s worth one point and it’s a difficult skill to master. Does it deserve to be cast aside?

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