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Sonny Bill Williams isn't quite back to where he was before he quit the NRL in 2008, but after his stunning performance in the Roosters' 50-0 defeat of Parramatta on Monday, it appears only a matter of time before he surpasses those feats.
As these statistics from Sportsdata show, Williams was in devastating form for Canterbury before he walked out on the club mid-season, but his five years in rugby union seem to have only enhanced his skills.
In 67 minutes against the Eels, Williams scored a try, set up another for winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck with a sublime cut-out pass, made four offloads, three tackles breaks and two line break assists before leaving the field to a standing ovation from the 18,014 crowd at Allianz Stadium.
''That is a fairly good comeback to the game for a bloke who has been out for five years and he is coming back from a pec injury, and he missed the whole off-season as well,'' Sportsdata chief Andrew Moufarrige said. ''He will get better and better as he goes.''
After undergoing surgery for a pectoral muscle tear suffered playing rugby union in Japan last November, Williams beat Francois Botha for the WBA international heavyweight title in February and only began training three weeks before his first game.
His 38 tackles against the Broncos in round three was more than he made in any of his 73 matches for the Bulldogs, but it is his work with the ball that has been most impressive.
''His offloads against the Eels were unbelievable,'' Moufarrige said.
''He would have three or four blokes onto him and he was popping offloads out as he was nearly hitting the ground, coming back straight to people's chests. The Roosters were playing second phase out of that.''
According to Sportsdata's contribution value system, Williams is ranked 21st in the NRL, but Moufarrige said everything he did was quality.
''The difference with him is that he can do the work of a frontrower, play like a backrower and also like a five-eighth or halfback or also like a centre or a winger,'' Moufarrige said.
''He can play in the middle and pop those miracle offloads, but also be in the backline putting those touches on or those passes on. He can throw as good a ball as most five-eighths in the NRL, and he finished off that try from the kick out on the wing.
"Who can do that? Who can play in the front-row and finish off a try like a winger, play like a five-eighth, pop those offloads and pull off the big hits? … To do it in round four would indicate there is a lot more to come.''
- Sydney Morning Herald
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