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Sonny Bill's impact already has a dollar value on it

The impact of Sonny Bill Williams' return to the NRL has been immediate and extensive according to newly-appointed CEO Andrew Abdo.

The 35-year-old made his first return to the Roosters side since 2014 when he faced the Raiders at Canberra's GIO Stadium on Saturday night.

Abdo will be there but primarily to hand the match ball over to the 300-gamer Josh Morris and not to watch Williams.

But he acknowledged on the Triple M Saturday Footy Show what having the former Kiwis and All Blacks international back on Australian soil means for the rugby league 'brand'.

"Sonny Bill brings something unique. He's got the X factor. He's an unbelievable athlete and his game has shown how durable he's been in his career," Abdo told Triple M.

"And you can put a dollar-value on it. He's had 17,000 mentions in the media in the lead-up to the game this week.

"We quantified that at somewhere in the region of $30 million in terms of media value across print, digital, radio and television.

"It also means that rugby union followers here and in New Zealand and elsewhere will probably dial in to see [Roosters v Raiders] and they see just how entertaining, how good, and how tough our competition is.

"So there's another benefit."

SBW return adds spice to Roosters-Raiders rivalry

Abdo also said fans of Josh Morris and his brother Brett would also be tuning in.

"Josh will become the 41st player to hit 300 games and that's from over 10,000 players who've played first grade, so that's an amazing feat," Abdo said.

"He's scored 145 tries so it's like every second game he scores a try. So it's a real honour to be there and present the match ball to him."

Abdo also told Triple M he liked the loan system employed by the Warriors this year in having first-grade players not getting a run at their NRL club, able to play due to a high-injury toll at the Warriors.

He said it would be considered at a post-2020 debrief to see if it had merits continuing in 2021.

"I don't know the answer to that yet but we'll certainly look at it in the off-season because it's worked really well," Abdo said.

"Given the constraints of the season it's been terrific to see someone like [George] Jennings playing for the Warriors and it wouldn't have happened in a normal year and doing so well.

"It is something on the radar that we'll debate the merits of and work with the clubs on and it could possible that that stays going forward, absolutely."

'Favourite' twin Josh primed for 300-game milestone

Finally, he was asked if he felt any discomfort in the AFL gaining traction in Queensland by staging their October 24 grand final at the 'Gabba.

He said the support for rugby league's third and final Origin game of the 2020 season would have a greater impact.

"The 18th of November will have a pretty special game going on in Brisbane and that's game three of State of Origin," he said.

"Queensland is full of people who live and breathe rugby league. So that will a real spectacle.

"I haven't watched too much AFL this year – I haven't had time – but I'm not too concerned. Queensland is rugby league heartland."

The NRL has not confirmed officially the venues for the November 4, 11, and 18 games but now everyone knows Brisbane will host Origin III.

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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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