Strong financial reasons were a major contributing factor to the Toronto Wolfpack pulling out of the 2020 English Super League campaign and their first-ever in the top-flight of European Rugby League, all thanks to COVID19. That, in turn, has left a lot of players futures in limbo, including the likes of stars Chase Stanley, Bodene Thompson, Darcy Lussick and world-renowned athlete, Sonny Bill Williams. The former NRL Premiership winner previously signed a record two-year, $10 million dollar deal with Toronto. Well, that has fallen and smashed hard into thousands of little bits, as questions remain about the Wolfpacks ability to pay their players and remain viable as a club given that they are the only team in the league based outside of England.
The ex-Boxing and dual-code Rugby player is by far the biggest casualty of the Wolfpacks troubles and it has led to a lot of clubs circling around him like hungry sharks for his much-prized signature. And while the Sydney Roosters are considered the strong favourites by many to snare his beloved signature. His former side the Bulldogs, as well as the struggling Warriors, are also being touted as possible destinations for his more-than-likely return to the NRL.
The Roosters are the reigning back-to-back Premiership winners and already have a capable squad filled to the brim with worldly talents in the likes of Tedesco, the Morris brothers, Keary, JWH, Cordner and Co. Whilst Canterbury and Auckland don’t come close to comparing to the Eastern Suburbs based side in terms of talent and actual production on the field. Here is why he would fit in so incredibly well at the 16th placed Bulldogs or the 13th placed Warriors.
He would slot straight into the Centres perfectly ahead of the likes of Averillo and Montoya. Combined this season, those two players have scored just 3 tries. And prior to that, in their last full campaigns combined last season, the Bulldogs centres scored just the 2 tries (Averillo wasn’t around then). In his first season alone, in just 15 matches, SBW scored 4 tries. And in 2007 through 14 games, he crossed the line 21 times. The attacking impetus he would bring to a side that massively struggles to produce points would be absolutely huge. And the experience and knowledge he would pass onto the young lads would be invaluable.
In 2020, the Bulldogs are at just 15,170 members, their lowest number within the past six seasons. That’s good for fifth-lowest in the league, despite all the ample ground they have to gain supporters over their other Sydney-based rivals. Bringing in the marketability and stature of someone such as SBW would go a significant way to improving that. It would actually be a sign to the loyal fans that the board actually does give two tosses about the club and would signify very strongly that they want to change around their recent dismal results. He’s a fan favourite of the club and it would increase their average game attendances as well. He’s the type of player that’ll put bums on seats. What he brings to the club alone in terms of his popularity alone, makes him a definite worthwhile signing for Canterbury.
New Zealand Warriors
He’s a New Zealander… He’s hungry … And, he breeds success. Why wouldn’t the Warriors want him? There’s a lot of in-experience in the Warriors forward-pack currently. Hetherington alone had only played 15 matches before the start of this season. Lawton had played only 27. Taunoa-Brown has played 11 games this campaign, but it’s his debut season. And then on the other side of things, some of the more experienced players haven’t always lived up to the pressure placed upon them.
These two contributing factors have made the Warriors a bit of an easy beat this season. Some of the scores placed against them have been 20-0 vs NEW, 20-6 vs CAN, 26-0 vs PEN, 40-12 vs SOU, 50-6 vs MEL and 46-10 vs CRO. Their shoddy defence has in no way helped in these poor results. But if SBW were to come in, his expertise and experience would way in helping the Warriors turn their forward-pack around. The Warriors in SBW would have something they desperately need… A leader.
Not too long ago, the Warriors had four players head back home. They were home-sick after being away from their family’s months on end. And whilst they have every right to do what they did, this is what they are paid to do. And in comparison, people within the armed forces or other jobs suffer much, much worse and get paid less, to be away from their families.
New Zealand need guys who would leave their bodies battered out on the field for the club and SBW is somebody who does exactly that. He’s used to suffering hard hits from his time in both League and Union, as well as being an ex-Boxer. And at 108KG, he’s a fairly big guy who as we all know, can give it, just as well as he can take it. He would represent the Warriors with pride. And there’s no better reason alone than that to sign him.
So, there you have it, sorry Chookies, but both the Dogs and the Warriors should really get first dibs when it comes to this one. The Roosters don’t need him, whereas the other two desperately do. So, on behalf of 90% of NRL fans. Dear Sir V’Landy’s, please get this one right. He could make either Canterbury or Auckland a powerhouse once again. And from a neutral perspective, wouldn’t it just be amazing to see that happen?