Boyd Cordner says Sonny Bill Williams would be welcomed with open arms by the Sydney Roosters if he returned to the NRL club, describing the code-hopper as his “idol”.
But the Tri-Colours captain was coy when asked about the Roosters’ chances of luring Williams despite rumours that the ex-All Black would let the two-time defending champions know if he would return by the end of the week.
The Roosters are believed to be in the box seat to snare Williams after speculation the 34-year-old was considering playing their final four games of 2020 following meetings between his agent and club supremo Nick Politis.
Williams has been allowed to pursue an NRL contract following his Super League outfit Toronto’s withdrawal from the 2020 UK competition.
“If he does come to the Roosters we are going to welcome him with open arms,” Cordner said of Williams who last played NRL in 2014 with the Tri-Colours.
“I know when he first came to the club in 2013 how much of an impact he had on the playing group – I am pretty sure he will have that same impact.
“He’s a freak. I have always looked up to Sonny ever since I was a kid. He was my idol.”
But asked about the likelihood of Williams returning, Cordner said: “When there is talk about someone coming back to the NRL the Roosters are going to get brought up.
“We will see how it unfolds.
“If he chooses another club that is fine. It’s not going to bother us.”
Roosters veteran Mitchell Aubusson kept his fingers crossed Williams would be back, saying his impact was still being felt at the club six years after his last game.
“The way he prepares is like something I have never seen. He could probably play until he’s 40,” he said.
“We still use today some of the stuff that he brought in.
“His preparation, his diet – all the things that we take for granted (now) are what he picked up and took to a new level.”
Williams will only be able to play a handful of NRL games this year if signed by the August 2 deadline after travelling from his family’s current Manchester home and a 14-day quarantine.
It has not stopped the Roosters making a play with reports they are also considering keeping Williams as part of their coaching staff in 2021 if his lucrative Toronto deal isn’t honoured.
The Warriors have also confirmed their interest but St George Illawarra officially pulled out on Wednesday despite a report they were considering using salary cap dispensation for Jack de Belin to snare Williams.
“We’ve made an overture … but we haven’t heard anything in response yet,” Warriors interim coach Todd Payten said.
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire ruled his club out before wondering how many rivals could fit Williams under their salary cap this year.
“It would be nice to see him come back,” he said.
“(But) I’m not sure there would be many teams in a position to get a player of that quality into their salary cap.”