Underarms, Catamarans and Food Poisonings

Sonny Bill on the run… this time not on the field

Sonny Bill Williams controversial departure from the Bulldogs for a $3million contract with Tana Umanga-coached French rugby side Toulon has provided the sport with yet another controversy. I am not by any means an expert on rugby league (but am keen to get someone who is to contribute to this blog), but his departure will leave a big hole in the sport and does nothing to improve the game’s appeal. The NRL have lost a crowd pleasing fan favourite and the New Zealand Kiwis have lost a future star. League followers must be now used to having the sports biggest stars leave the code for union, with the Wallabies the greatest benefactors of the switches. And as he is now a rugby player, he joins along list of New Zealand rugby players moving to Europe chasing the big dollars. So his move is nothing new in that respect. It is the way he is has left that really irritates those who love the game.

Williams has departed halfway through the season, with four years left in his AU$450,000 per year contract, from a team who despite former years of glory is instead languishing near the bottom of the table. He is showing zero loyalty, zero concern for his team, and zero compassion for his teammates. I know that it is dubious to keep placing sports stars on a pedestal as role models, but Sonny Bill is just that, as the young player has a huge following both in New Zealand and Australia. His conduct sets a shocking example for young fans and aspiring players. In his actions, Williams has epitomised the arrogant self-centred nature of the modern professional sports star. Legally, he has broken his contract, and will no doubt face the consequences as his actions, as the NRL eyes either arrest, or the seizure of assets.

Laurie Daly told TV3’s John Campbell that he believed Williams would become the greatest New Zealand league player ever, but with his departure the sport has undoubtedly lost a future great. League’s loss is potentially union’s, and perhaps even the All Black’s, gain. For him to play in an All Black jersey he is going to have to clean up his act, as the All Black management have proven in the past to not tolerate any bullshit. Once the dust settles on his latest controversy, many of us will no doubt eagerly follow his performances in his new chosen code. Right now the All Blacks can do with all the help they can get.


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