Good news for the Roosters if this is true. Perhaps this is the new paradigm we have to just get used to: he’ll play this season, head to Japan in the offseason, and get three fights in before he “officially” re-signs again.
It’s quite a merry dance he has to do and slightly unnecessary really considering everyone knows what his true intentions are, but the NRL are making him do it and it looks like he’s prepared to do it regardless.
SONNY Bill Williams has agreed to a second year at the Roosters, with another handshake deal ensuring the former All Black will stay in the NRL until the end
It was widely considered that Williams would depart the Roosters at the end of this season and return to rugby union in New Zealand.
But there’s a new twist to Williams continuing his rugby league and boxing career.
Instead of playing in the rugby league World Cup on October 25, Williams is likely to wait until November before officially announcing his 2014 deal at the Roosters.
The delay would allow Williams to continue his boxing career, with plans for up to three off-season bouts.
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan confirmed the club’s intentions to keep Williams beyond his current one-year deal.
“We want to make him comfortable playing rugby league and comfortable wearing a Roosters jersey first,” Canavan said.
“We want him to be excited about continuing in rugby league, but that is something that has no time frame. Hopefully he wants to stay.”
Williams is reported to have earned $1.7 million in a 12-game stint with Japanese rugby club Panasonic Wild Cats and by not officially signing a new deal at the Roosters, he can explore those options again.
The Roosters originally attempted to sign Williams to a four-year deal.
Sources close to Williams have indicated that the gifted athlete will switch back to rugby union in 2015, ahead of the World Cup to be hosted by England.
Williams was not scheduled to officially join the Roosters until February 18, but he volunteered to start a week early.
“He made the offer to start early,” Canavan said. “He is coming in on Monday, which is a good thing for us.”
Williams suffered a pectoral injury during his rugby stint in Japan and will be examined by medical staff following his controversial heavyweight bout against South African Francois Botha on Friday night in Brisbane.
Roosters staff have kept in close contact with Williams since snaring the 108kg forward and are confident his boxing training has him in peak fitness.
The Auckland product is expected to make his first appearance for the Tri-colours on February 23, when the Roosters take on the Wests Tigers in the Foundation Cup, their final pre-season trial.
Several Roosters players will make the trip to Belmore today to watch feeder club, the Newtown Jets, take on the Bulldogs.
Williams is not expected to attend, avoiding what could prove to be an ugly showdown with Bulldogs fans.