Kiwis greats question Sonny Bill's loyalty
Sunday, 17 December 2006
Kiwis greats have turned on league sensation Sonny Bill Williams questioning his loyalty to the black jersey and what motivates him
And Australian icon Artie Beetson has reminded the 21-year-old - who comes off contract at the Bulldogs next year - that his league achievements to date had been modest.
Williams' management, Chris and Gavin Orr, will this week table his name as league players on their books who are interested in a switching codes to the Australian Rugby Union - a move which would align Williams to the Wallabies.
Ex-Kiwi Kurt Sorenson - a veteran of 27 tests - said the possible switch of allegiance was a disgrace.
"What can you say. He's making his own choice - it shows his true colours," Sorenson told Sunday News from the Gold Coast.
"It's not very good. One minute he's saying he's a proud Kiwi. The next minute he's saying he is going to try to be a Wallaby.
"What do you say? All they see is dollar signs. When you are young, you are like that.
"Obviously he should stick with being a Kiwi. He is a Kiwi - nothing else."
The meeting between Williams' management and the ARU comes less than three weeks after the player talked about being a contender to replace Ruben Wiki as Kiwis captain.
And Sorenson's fellow team-mate Kevin Tamati - one of the most feared enforcers to ever wear the black jersey - said it was an insult to New Zealand league.
"That's terrible. What can you say," Tamati said. "To turn your back on the Kiwis and play for Australia is one thing. But to turn your back on the game and play for the Wallabies, that is a slap in the mouth.
"I couldn't see me doing something like that. Crossing from league to union is one thing. But changing from country to country no way I couldn't be doing that.
"Good luck to him. I just hope that down the line he doesn't regret it."
Added former Kiwis captain Mark Graham: "He is just a young man.
"I am real old school. That wouldn't be something that someone from my era would take on board.
"It's his decision. It would be a big loss for the Kiwis' but they did go alright this year without him."
Graham - who has coached in both professional league and rugby - said Williams would make a fine rugby convert.
And he said the lesser impacts in union would probably better suit his injury-battered body.
"I think Sonny Bill realises with the injuries that he has had that footy can finish at any time. It's a case of making hay while the sun shines," he said.
"He is a very good player" he's a young man and he's picked the toughest game in the world to play.
"Rugby isn't as tough."
Tamati said the Orr brothers' pending talks threw into question what motivated Williams. And if money was the key then he wouldn't be surprised if Williams did opt for a code switch.
"Everyone chucks that (money) in the mix. You're career is as long as long as the body lasts you take it while you can," he said.
"It's part of professional rugby. It doesn't matter who the pied piper is, as long as his money is. It's a shame.
"At the end of the day I understand that the family comes first. If the golden egg is offered, then well and good. Get on with it and make the most of it.
Meanwhile, Beetson said Williams should consider what league had provided for him in his career to date.
And while he said the playmaker had stunning skills, Williams should also remember he was still yet to achieve little in the game.
"I still think he has a bit to prove. He's only played a few tests," he said.
But Beetson confided he always believed Williams would eventually switch codes.
"I always thought it was only a matter of time before he went over," he said.
"There was talk right from the beginning that he had been approached by union. They have a few of our league players, so what's another."
So what do ya'll make of this?
He couldn't be serious about playing for the Wallabies could he?.... just trying to boost his price?