Sonny Bill Williams is facing heat from all corners in the courts at present, this week it was NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert’s turn – claiming the runaway forward was crucial to the club’s recruitment and retention plans.
Documents were passed on to the courts on Wednesday, with Schubert providing an affidavit outlining the importance of building a player roster at any club. Highlighting the key players in any roster and how they are crucial to acquisition and retention of future squad members and other figures such as coaches.
“The contractual payments to which Sonny Bill Williams is entitled under his contract make him amongst the top 10 highest-paid players across the game in the last three years,” Schubert said.
“In my opinion there is no doubt that he is an elite or marquee player. This is reflected in his position in the salary cap of the Bulldogs. His contract payments comprise 10 per cent of the salary cap of the Bulldogs for the 2008 season.”
The Bulldogs head back to the NSW Supreme CourtÂ on Thursday to claim they subpoenaed Williams after he made his debut for French rugby union club Toulon – the same day an injunction was granted that prevented him from playing with any other code than rugby league.
Williams is at the centre of a contractual dispute after walking out in the first year of a five-year, $2million deal with the Dogs to take up a two-year, $2.6m contract with Toulon.
If NSW Supreme Court Justice Robert Austin rulesÂ that papers were served on Williams and he plays again for Toulon, he will be in contempt of court. That could lead to the courts seizing his $1.3m home at Caringbah in Sydney’s south.
In his affidavit, tabled in court last Friday, Schubert detailed how crucial marquee players were to the success of an NRL club.
“Such a player will generally help the team perform at an extremely high level and will attract fans, sponsors and other players to the club,” Schubert said. “There are generally not at any one time enough elite or marquee players to enable each NRL club to have one, although some clubs have two or more.
“The club will also use the marquee player as a recruiting tool for signing players.”
Schubert’s affidavit could add weight to any potential damages claim by the Bulldogs.