Roosters praise ultimate professional SBW
Sonny Bill Williams has been lauded by his captain and coach as the ultimate professional for his typically first class display in the Roosters 32-12 dismantling of the Panthers, despite taking the field without imbibing any food or water for eight hours before the game.
With kick-off against Penrith slated for 3 pm, Williams' strict observance of the Islamic holy month Ramadan meant the superstar back-rower could not eat or drink during daylight hours, not that you would've noticed it based on his offensive output.
Williams was at his usual destructive best on the Roosters left-edge, running for a monumental 179 metres from 21 runs (second only to teammate Boyd Cordner and well above his 2014 average of 126 metres per game), and having a hand in the Tricolours' opening try to Aidan Guerra.
While his defensive workload was reduced to just eight tackles due to a stint in the centres, the Kiwi powerhouse went flat-out like a caterpillar tying its shoelaces for the entire 80 minutes, evidenced no better than through a final minute intercept, in which he pushed his no-doubt tired legs some 60 metres downfield despite the game already being thoroughly in the premiers' keeping.
Speaking after the comprehensive win, skipper Anthony Minichiello said Williams' fasting had not affected his training one iota, and praised his teammate's performance with what could only be limited petrol in the tank.
"I thought he handled it great," said Minichiello.
"This is probably his biggest challenge going out and playing the 3 o'clock game and not able to have any food or any water or drink at all... but even the last two and a half weeks he's been doing it, we haven't seen any lapses or anything in his training.
"He's just been Sonny; the way he is, he's a professional."
Coach Trent Robinson also paid tribute to Williams' showing, which he will not have to endure again with only one next Friday night's away game against the Knights the last fixture to fall during Ramadan, and the 7.45 pm kickoff allowing him to refuel his body before the match.
"It was great," said Robinson.
"What you can do there fasting like he is – you can... just try and play your natural game and play some plays and all that, but shirk a little bit on the little things that are important away from the ball.
"Sonny did the opposite. He didn't really overplay at all today, he didn't try too much and all he did was the hard work. He didn't stop moving in defence.
"He did all the stuff that people probably don't see which is a credit to him, and at the back end of a fasting day."
Robinson was suitably pleased with his side's performance, with the five-tries-to-two thumping delivering the Roosters their first win since prior to Origin II, as back-to-back losses to Manly and the Sharks were sandwiched by the Chooks' two bye weeks.
"It was a good performance, there was a bit more control in our game and we still came up with some nice plays in our game to get some points," said Robinson.
"[Our defence] was better, there's still a few points to work on but it was much more of a team defensive performance today."