Sonny Bill set to become richest player around

Sonny Bill Williams will tomorrow confirm he is to become the highest-paid footballer in Australia and New Zealand, leading Australian sources say.

The Sunday Telegraph says in its Sydney editions today that SBW will announce what the Herald on Sunday predicted last week: a deal for a stint in Japanese rugby followed by a year in the National Rugby League with the Sydney Roosters.

It says Williams has stitched up a deal that will earn him $2 million for the year, $800,000 of that coming from a 10-match deal with the Japanese rugby union team Panasonic. Confirmation will come at an Auckland press conference, it says.

The paper says Williams is honouring a handshake deal made with the Roosters, which started over a cup of coffee in Circular Quay involving the boss of Channel Nine, Williams' agent and SBW himself.

The agreement will end a five-season NRL exile sparked when Williams walked out on the Bulldogs.

Roosters and Australian league great Brad Fittler says the only downside to the deal is the likelihood Williams will not commit past one year.

"It's a massive gamble but I love the fact the Roosters look like they've been able to entice Sonny back. The only question mark I would have is how long is Sonny Bill going to stay for?"

The New Zealand Rugby Union today announced Williams will hold a press conference at the Chiefs headquarters in Hamilton tomorrow.

He will be joined by Chiefs coaches Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith and All Blacks assistant Ian Foster.

- Herald on Sunday

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