Nervy Williams turns All Black to Roosters red

BRAD WALTER
Last updated 13:11 14/11/2012

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After a two-hour search to buy a suit for Tuesday's announcement of his return to the NRL with Sydney Roosters, Sonny Bill Williams had settled on a blue jacket and trousers with a white shirt, but the salesman at the men's outfitter had reservations.

''I am worried about the colours,'' he said. ''It's very Bulldogs.''

After considering a red handkerchief to put in his top jacket pocket, Williams decided to stick with the white one he had initially chosen - although he took the other one with him to the press conference.

''We can't do everything because of the Roosters or the Bulldogs,'' Williams said. ''Everyone has their own agendas but I am just here to play some good footy. That's all I want to worry about.''

When we met Williams at 10am in an Oxford Street cafe, he was with his father John and his long-time manager Khoder Nasser, who the 27-year-old dual international describes as ''my boxing promoter and my brother''.

Williams finalised the one-year deal with the Roosters himself as Nasser is not an NRL-accredited agent, but he wanted to make it clear how close the pair are.

As he walked from Westfield Bondi Junction to the nearby Easts Leagues Club to sign the contract and front a large media contingent, Williams repeatedly called for Nasser to walk beside him as the television cameras rolled.

Earlier, he had competed a training session and then gone to buy a suit but Williams ran into trouble finding a shop that stocked trousers long enough to fit him. At one stage he thought he was going to have to swap clothes with Nasser.

Fans at Paddington and at Bondi Junction had also wanted to stop him for a chat or to pose for a photo with him.

At Cafe Brioni in Oxford Street, numerous patrons came up to shake his hand and tell him to ignore the critics.

The proprietor, Steve Kocic , has a poster of Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello on the glass door of the cafe and he asked Williams for one of him.

''We are Roosters members and we are just thrilled to have such a formidable athlete join the club,'' Kocic said.

Roosters supremo Nick Politis feels the same way and after being ushered through the back entrance of the leagues club, Williams and Nasser were taken to meet the man responsible for the All Blacks superstar's return four years after walking out on the Bulldogs.

New Roosters coach Trent Robinson and senior club officials were also present.

As Williams sat down beside Politis in the crowded office, a contract was produced and the pair posed for the cameras.

''Let me take off my glasses so I can do my Al Pacino look,'' Politis joked. Legal adviser Stephen Gorry, whom Williams had chosen to help finalise the deal from a list of lawyers drawn up at his request by Roosters officials, then sat next to him as he signed the document, which will be submitted to the NRL in coming days.

Nasser led a round of applause in the room, and then Williams got up to leave for the press conference.

''I have to be honest, I am more nervous now than before a game,'' he said.

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As he appeared before the waiting journalists, Williams was dressed in Bulldogs colours but he had now officially become a Rooster.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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