Sydney Roosters tactics for SBW off the bench — three perspectives from three papers

Trained the house down but he'll still need to get readjusted to the speed of the game. Image credit SMH

Trained the house down but he’ll still need to get readjusted to the speed of the game. Image credit SMH

Three different papers, three different perspectives on how Sonny Bill will be used.

The Herald reckons he’ll get on at around the 20 minute mark, while the Australian reckons he’ll get on 30 minutes in.

The Telegraph probably goes into the most detail, and makes the most compelling case for how he’ll be used after sourcing opposing coaches.:

Rival coaches claim Williams, who was last night chosen to come off the bench in jumper No.16, will be flung into the action after 20 to 25 minutes and play until half-time.

He will restart the second half, play 15 minutes and have another breather. It is more than likely he will then re-emerge for the final 10 minutes.

We can only wait and see how he’ll be used, but the Telegraph’s analysis of how he’ll be used takes three of the 10 interchanges to make happen, leaving just seven for the rotation of Martin Kennedy, Luke O’Donnell and — assuming Cordner misses the match through injury — Daniel Mortimer.

But it does make sense from a fitness point of view. He’s been playing rugby in the centres and won’t be used to the niggle in tackles and the 10-metre rule, so short bursts make sense.

Either way, we’ll find out on Thursday.

From The Herald:

SONNY Bill Williams has been cleared to make one of the most eagerly awaited comebacks in rugby league history and will start on the interchange bench for Sydney Roosters in Thursday night’s NRL season opener against South Sydney at Allianz Stadium.

Williams was named to wear jersey No.16 in his first NRL appearance since walking out on the Bulldogs after round 18, 2008, and the 27-year-old superstar is expected to be thrust into action midway through the first half.

From The Telegraph:

FORTY minutes in three torrid spells. That is what Roosters recruit Sonny Bill Williams can expect to play in tomorrow night’s big season opener against Souths at Allianz Stadium.

Rival coaches claim Williams, who was last night chosen to come off the bench in jumper No.16, will be flung into the action after 20 to 25 minutes and play until half-time.

He will restart the second half, play 15 minutes and have another breather. It is more than likely he will then re-emerge for the final 10 minutes.

“A lot will depend on how much defence he has done but, overall, he will play about 40 minutes,” one NRL coach said.

“He will be okay, although the wrestle will take a toll. Having three or four defenders wrestle you with each hit-up does sap your energy. And that wouldn’t have happened to him in rugby union.”

Radio reports yesterday suggested Williams would withdraw because of a pectoral injury but it appears certain he will play – no doubt to plenty of cheers and jeers.

…and from The Australian:

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson yesterday ended any lingering speculation that Williams may not play in the season opener against South Sydney at Allianz Stadium by naming the dual international in his side, and summarily dismissing suggestions he would be rested for round one.

With ticket sales nearing 40,000, confirmation of Williams’s availability has the potential to push the game to a sellout. His selection on the interchange bench, widely expected after a pre-season disrupted by pectoral and knee problems, is unlikely to dissuade fans from turning up.

Williams will watch the opening exchanges from the sideline before being thrust into the match, most likely at the 30-minute mark. Williams is expected to station himself on the right edge – the same position he played before he walked out on Canterbury five years ago – outside halfback Mitchell Pearce and inside Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

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