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Thread: Rugby salivates over disgruntled Sonny Bill

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    Rugby salivates over disgruntled Sonny Bill

    Rugby salivates over disgruntled Sonny Bill
    By ADRIAN PROSZENKO and STEVE KILGALLON - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 18 May 2008
    Rugby salivates over disgruntled Sonny Bill - New Zealand's source for sport, rugby, cricket & league news on Stuff.co.nz


    Disgruntled Bulldogs star Sonny Bill Williams is fed up and wants out of the club.

    The Sun-Herald can reveal Kiwis superstar Williams is at loggerheads with Bulldogs officials over several issues and has instructed his management to explore the possibility of a release.

    Asked about the development, Williams said last night: "I don't want to comment."

    But the news has created renewed interest in Williams from rival code rugby union. Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones declared he would attempt to lure Williams to English rugby club Saracens if the Kiwis forward can negotiate a release from his long- term deal at Belmore. There are also big-money offers from rugby clubs in France and Japan.

    The convener of the Kiwis selectors, Howie Tamati, said: "[Williams] would be a huge loss to the game if he does go. It would be a big impact on the international game ... he has been a fabulous asset to rugby league but he is a young man who has got to make decisions to secure his own future and his livelihood."

    Former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe said Williams would "blitz them" if he went to rugby.

    "It would be a crying shame if he went but it's going to happen more as the games get closer.

    "He would be a sensation in rugby, I've got no doubt whatsoever.

    "He strikes me as the sort of guy who would not go somewhere for an extra 50 grand . . . but from the outside they [the Bulldogs] aren't playing like a happy mob."

    After expressing an interest in representing the All Blacks, European rugby sides have begun making inquiries about his availability. Jones, now a consultant with English club Saracens, said he would target Williams if he became a free agent and met eligibility criteria.

    "'He's undoubtedly one of the most talented league players we've ever seen.

    "He'd make a fantastic 12 in union. He's got pace, he's got speed, he's got a step.

    "He has the ability to distribute the ball and he's tough. They are all pretty good qualities that make a good 12," said Jones.

    Even though the English salary cap is set to double next year, Saracens will struggle to compete with the money available in France.

    Jones said Williams could fetch $1 million per season at one of the "big three or four" French franchises.

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    Sonny Bill v JOC
    Pretty much the extreme in #12's, good job he's looking for the Euro's!

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    Veteran Contributor JediKnight's Avatar
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    He'll be playing for the Tahs next season.

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    Seems the Mungos are having as much trouble as Rugby in trying to hang on to their elite.

    The latest scam from the agents would seem to be getting very loose release clauses in player contracts, at least for the "Hot Property". The NRL jumped through hoops to get Gasnier to stay. Now it looks as if they basically said "If you stay we'll pay you all this money and you can walk away whenever you want." SBW might have something similar.

    Personally, I think both codes in the SH should not enter this type of desperation bargaining. Good as they are, there's another Daniel Carter, SBW or Mark Gasnier out there somewhere. Let them go wherever and let the market work things out.

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    Troble is if it's left to the market, ultimately we'll be left with S14 being an Under 21 comp
    The only real strings we have to pull are national pride (ie Wallaby eligability) and Mummies boys.
    Other than that you'd be mad not to chase the money on offer.
    SH players already make up the equivilent of three English Premier Club Squads!

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    Troble is if it's left to the market, ultimately we'll be left with S14 being an Under 21 comp

    SH players already make up the equivilent of three English Premier Club Squads!
    I don't disagree with you about possible outcomes Burgs. I just don't think we can compete and still be reasonably fair to the bulk of our "domestic" players. The Europeans are starting to murmur about limits on foreign players. The EPL and other NH football leagues are thinking about it and their Superleague already has limits.

    It should be an embarrassment that they can't fill squads with decent players given their enormous registration base. They have to think about player development for national squads too.

    If limits are introduced it will be a major shot in the arm for S14 and the A League.

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    It makes you wonder though, if S14 is such a marketable product etc why they can't generate greater sponsorship deals to lift the pay brackets to the next level.
    Have read the murmours about quota's (there is already a form of it in the English Premier with only x amount allowed on the field etc) and agree, that's the only forseeable "saviour" from the slippery slope we are on now.
    In the last three years there has been a distinct change from the SH just losing our retiring players to Superannuation Leagues to now losing genuine young prospects.

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    Sonny Bill would be an asset for the Tahs

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    One of the issues S14 has to do is give the franchises the financial power - and forget the ARU top ups - Current the franchises can only pay a max $110k - then up to the ARU to decside which players to top up -with the full season comp they are talking about for 2010 give the power back to the franchises to select players and player salaries.

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    This will get messy and end up in the courts if everything i have read today is true-ish. The Bulldogs are saying that they expect SBW to honor his contract and won't be granted an early release, a few bulldogs supporters have benn quoted as saying they should hold on to him and send him to the Jim Beam Cup

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    League loyalty officially dead

    League loyalty officially dead

    By Todd Balym and Steve Jancetic

    May 19, 2008

    RUGBY league loyalty is officially dead with two of the game's greats giving Sonny Bill Williams and Mark Gasnier the green light to cut and run from the NRL for more money.

    Gasnier and Williams are two of the highest paid superstars in the NRL and both are considering heading to Europe to potentially double their sizable incomes with English or French rugby clubs.

    St George Illawarra captain Gasnier has a $600,000-a-year deal until the end 2011 but has a clause permitting him to simply walk away from the club at any time.

    Bulldogs backrower Williams is just six months into a five-year $2 million deal, but doesn't have an easy escape like Gasnier with the club adamant the Kiwi international's commitment will be honoured.

    Former St George great John Raper said the Dragons should let the man acclaimed as the world's best centre to leave as new coach Wayne Bennett would "pull about three" Gasnier's out when he takes over the club in 2009.

    "If he's not happy at the club then let him go," he said.

    "I'm all for players that aren't happy just let them go otherwise you have so much trouble with them.

    "It'd be no surprise to me if Wayne Bennett comes up with another Mark Gasnier - that's what he's been able to do, he keeps coming up with good new players whether it be in the centres or in the front row.

    "I'm certain he won't only pull one Mark Gasnier out, he'll pull about three out."

    Raper argued that players deserved to earn as much as they can from their short football careers, a fact former NSW coach Wayne Pearce agrees with.

    Pearce said the Bulldogs should try to solve any problems with Williams and even though he doubts the 22-year-old's concerns are purley monetary, he can understand the desire to make quick bucks.

    He argues that NRL clubs no longer show loyalty to players as they continue searching for younger stars and the players should look after themselves first and foremost.

    "I would be surprised if it is just dollars and cents with Sonny Bill," said Pearce.

    "(But) I think the players are entitled to get the best deal that they possibly can.

    "They have to try and do their best in a short period of time as a player.

    "Because of the salary cap issue now there's not the loyalty I suppose from the clubs because the clubs have got to turn players over.

    "So the old loyalty card that was played back in 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s is no longer as fine a trump card as it used to be."

    While speculation is rife that both Gasnier and Williams are prepared to leave the NRL, both have barely uttered a word on their futures in recent weeks.

    The Bulldogs are either powerless or unwilling to force Williams to speak publicly, while Gasnier has refused media requests during his time in NSW Origin camp.

    Bulldogs veteran Luke Patten weighed in on the argument calling for his highly-paid but media shy teammate to set the record straight and publicly state his intentions to end uncertainty at the club.

    "It would be good to see what he does think," said Patten.

    "I'm sure in the next however long it will all get sorted out."

    How long that wait is depends on Gasnier and Williams.

    League loyalty officially dead - NRL - Fox Sports

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