Recently changing management, Sonny Bill Williams was previously managed by Gavin Orr but is now aligned with Khoder Nasser the man who pulls the strings for boxer Anthony Mundine. Ever since the new association it has virtually been a different Sonny Bill Williams. Previously quietly spoken, SBW suddenly was in the headlines and was vocal about various aspects of the game. He also broke up with his long time girlfriend and childhood sweetheart Genna Shaw. Rumours also swept NRL circles that Sonny Bill was even about to change his religion.
From citing a lack of loyalty from his departing team mates Willie Mason, Mark O’Meley and Brent Sherwin to his comments that the Polynesian community within the game are being exploited – SBW was becoming more and more vocal and a totally different man to the one we knew just a few short months before.
What’s the go?
Is Sonny Bill not happy at the Bulldogs only because of their recent poor form? When your NRL club is in a hole, you simply can’t pack up your stuff and walk away! Maybe he is missing Willie Mason, or is he unhappy that Mason is getting big dollars at Bondi? Sure, the departure of Willie Mason a close mate and someone who urged Sonny to stay for less money must hurt – but lets be realistic here, here is a young man on big dollars and playing top level Rugby League. The Bulldogs have been extremely patient as SBW experienced constant injuries and long periods on the sidelines, they paid the bills and were always there to pick up the pieces.
So regardless of results, player departures or coaching changes – Sonny Bill Williams has been well looked after by his employer and ultimately he just needs to do his part. Forget chasing more money only 12 months into a long term deal, do your job and stop making waves for your club.
Admittedly things do not look good for the Bulldogs in the future. While they made a smart choice in snaring Brett Kimmorley, they are without a top line coach and it will take several years for Kevin Moore to develop into a competitive prospect – just look at the time it has taken for Nathan Brown to become competitive at the Dragons after taking his first senior coaching position.
The Bulldogs continue to lose quality players, Willie Tonga the most recent to leave the club and now they have SBW and Reni Maitua also wanting to exit stage left. The Dogs might have new state of the art training facilities at Homebush, but they are a club without a spiritual home and have faced that daunting prospect ever since the Oasis Project fell into a heap.
With so many problems and a bleak looking future, the Bulldogs need the help of Sonny Bill Williams more than ever. Not just on the field with strong performances, but they need respect from SBW in the media and in the eyes of the public. On-going bickering will impact sponsors, members and fans through the gate.
The Bulldogs have put so much money into Sonny Bill Williams and waited patiently as the star forward has played not much over 60 NRL games in 4 years. A sad state of affairs in terms of attendance, regardless of whether SBW could have earned more money elsewhere – he signed a 5 year agreement with the Bulldogs and it’s time to put in.
So Sonny, whether its you or your new manager stirring up this hornets nest – it might be time to have a good hard look at yourself. You say you want a better deal for Polynesian players? Well at the moment, you aren’t setting such a good example yourself.