NRL: SBW eyes longer stay at Roosters

Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan confirmed the club's intentions to keep Williams. Photo / Dean Purcell
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan confirmed the club's intentions to keep Williams. Photo / Dean Purcell

Sonny Bill Williams' return to New Zealand rugby could be delayed with news he will extend his deal with NRL club the Sydney Roosters for another year.

Sydney media are reporting Williams has agreed to a second year at the Roosters, with another handshake deal ensuring the former All Black will stay in the NRL until the end of 2014.

Williams has been tipped to return to rugby next year in preparation for the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015 after his one-year stint with the Roosters.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Williams is likely to wait until November before officially announcing his 2014 deal at the Roosters.

The delay would allow Williams to continue his boxing career, with plans for up to three off-season bouts.

Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan confirmed the club's intentions to keep Williams beyond his current one-year deal.

"We want to make him comfortable playing rugby league and comfortable wearing a Roosters jersey first," Canavan said.

"We want him to be excited about continuing in rugby league, but that is something that has no time frame. Hopefully he wants to stay."

Williams is reported to have earned $1.7 million in a 12-game stint with Japanese rugby club Panasonic Wild Cats and by not officially signing a new deal at the Roosters, he can explore those options again.

The Roosters originally attempted to sign Williams to a four-year deal.

Sources have indicated he will switch back to rugby in 2015, ahead of the World Cup.

Williams was not scheduled to officially join the Roosters until February 18, but he volunteered to start a week early.

"He made the offer to start early," Canavan said. "He is coming in on Monday, which is a good thing for us."

Williams suffered a pectoral injury during his rugby stint in Japan and will be examined by medical staff after his controversial heavyweight boxing win against South African Francois Botha on Friday night in Brisbane.

Roosters staff have kept in close contact with Williams since snaring the 108kg forward and are confident his boxing training has him in peak fitness.

He is expected to play his first game for the Roosters on February 23 against Wests Tigers in the Foundation Cup, their final pre-season trial.


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- NZ Herald

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