Sonny Bill Williams will run on for the Roosters on March 7.
Sonny Bill Williams will run on for the Roosters on March 7. Getty Images

Is Sonny Bill Williams taking us all for ride?

FOR a few weeks during the season I started to think - and actually believe - that Sonny Bill Williams didn't believe he was bigger than the game. But like many, I was hoodwinked, as we saw on Tuesday of this week.

While some may consider it a misunderstanding or an unfortunate predicament, the New Zealand World Cup team selection stuff-up was farcical.

That SBW decided, after the Kiwi team had been announced, that he now wanted to play, is yet another case in point supporting the widely-held belief he and his management team are taking us all for a ride.

And that he was then selected - on the pretext that their chances of winning were almost undeniable with him in the side - is an insult to every other squad member.

And what about Tohu Harris, the poor bugger kicked out of the original team to make way for Williams? He has every reason to feel like fish and chip paper.

I understand the quandary facing coach Steve Kearney and his fellow Kiwi selectors. They were under the impression SBW was not available, and that's why he wasn't originally picked.

They could have stood on their dig and said 'too late bro, the team has been announced'. Had they done that, imagine how the decision would have gone down with Kiwi fans, and all those who are keen to see him stay in rugby league.

But where to now for SBW? Is he going to string everyone along - as he did last year - until after the World Cup, after Christmas, or after his next boxing bout before he announces his intentions for the 2014 season?

He is an outstanding talent, and his contribution to the Roosters premiership was such they might not have won it without him. But this is dead-set a case of the tail wagging the dog.

If he leaves the NRL - again - it will be a shame, and a blow for the game. But almost 500 young men played in the NRL this past season and it simply can't be one rule for SBW and one for the other 499.

Second choice needed

DALY Cherry-Evans was arguably the stand-out in Sunday's grand final, but even so he probably should not have been awarded the Clive Churchill Medal as best on ground.

What is not in dispute, however, is that he did not deserve to be booed by the Roosters supporters in the crowd.

On a magical day in which almost everything went to script, the episode was uncomfortable for all concerned. And the awkward moment was totally unnecessary.

Clearly, from a logistical viewpoint, the judges of the award - Australian selectors Des Morris, Bob McCarthy, Allan Smith and Bob Fulton - had to make their decision well before fulltime - 10 minutes I'm told. And when that call was made, with the Roosters ahead 20-18, the result was very much in the balance.

But let's face it, unless the circumstances are exceptional, the prestigious gong of MVP on grand final day should go to a player on the winning team. It's commonsense really, and avoids the unwarranted humiliation that Cherry-Evans had to suffer.

And the solution is simple. The judges should be asked to select two potential recipients - one from each team - with the medal going to the player from the winning side.

Foot in mouth

JUDGING by comments this week from a couple of notables in the game the silly season is off to an early start.

Legendary stirrer and three-time Parramatta premiership player, Ray Price, garnered a headline when he claimed that if he and Brett Kenny were appointed joint coaches for next season a top-eight finish was a certainty for the embarrassing Eels.

Price conceded that winning the lottery was a better chance than them being appointed, but said if he and Kenny could not bring the Eels back as an NRL force, no-one could.

He's right on one front, and wrong on the other. He is no chance of being appointed coach, but not even he and Kenny can improve Parramatta by eight spots next year.

And Justin Hodges has obviously been inhaling too much of the Dencorub fumes in the gymnasium where he has started his rehab. He has offered to solve the attacking problems of the Broncos next year by playing five-eighth.

Terrific player that he is, Hodgo is not renowned for passing the ball. Him wearing No.6 will not happen.



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