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Roosters reunion: Cordner would welcome SBW back 'with open arms'

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner said he would welcome Sonny Bill Williams back to the club "with open arms" for the remainder of the season if a deal could be struck between the two parties.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday afternoon that Roosters chairman Nick Politis had met with Williams's manager Khoder Nasser and that the club was hopeful of the Kiwi superstar resuming his career in the red, white and blue.

According to the report, SBW is considering returning to the club for the final month of the regular season if he can get dispensation to return to Australia and is able to clear biosecurity measures. 

Williams has been linked with a return to the NRL since Monday after becoming a free agent following his Super League club, Toronto Wolfpack, withdrawing from the English competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.

He last played in the NRL with the Roosters in 2014, winning the premiership the previous year in his first season with the club.

The NRL's cut-off for mid-year signings has been extended to August 3, leaving clubs interested in SBW and his Toronto teammates just over a week to broker a short-term deal.

The Roosters have a full 30-man senior roster and would need to release a player if they were to try and sign Williams.

"If he does make a return to the NRL then definitely I'd love to play alongside Sonny again, who wouldn't?," Cordner said when quizzed on Wednesday.

"There's a lot of talk at the moment, I'm not sure how true it is. It's gaining momentum but we'll just see how that unfolds.

Which clubs would benefit most from the return of SBW?

"When there's talk of anyone coming back to the NRL the Roosters are going to get brought up.

"As a playing group we're not too worried about that. I think our focus is about getting back in the winner's circle and back on track."

Asked what SBW would bring to the Roosters as a 34-year-old, Cordner added "a hell of a lot of experience" and X-Factor.

The halfway mark: Tackle of the year

"I know when he first came to the Roosters in 2013 how much of an impact he had on the playing group just being around the club," Cordner said.

"I'm pretty sure he'd have that same sort of impact.

"He's a freak, the ultimate professional and we've seen him at the top of his game whether he boxes, comes back, plays union.

"His stint with us in 2013-14 and then going back and winning World Cups in union.

It's just what he does, he's at the top of his game all the time. I'm not sure if age is a big factor in that."

And what about if he did return to the NRL but not with the two-time defending champions?

"We've got no attachment with Sonny at the moment so if he chooses another club that's fine," Cordner said.

The halfway mark: Try of the year

"We're very confident in the playing group we've got and the journey we're on that we're totally fine without Sonny.

"But then again if he does come to the Roosters we're going to welcome him with open arms."

Roosters veteran Mitch Aubusson said Williams's influence had remained on some of the squad's current players who won the competition with him in 2013.

NRL players open to SBW return

"It's his preparation, his diet and all the things people take for granted," Aubusson said.

"He really picked up and took it to a new level. There are guys [here] doing more than what he did back then now but he started them on the right path.

"He's been at the forefront of doing that stuff."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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