Roosters hint at halves role for Sonny Bill

JOE BARTON
Last updated 14:40 20/06/2013
Sonny Bill Williams
Getty Images
SURPRISE MOVE: Sonny Bill Williams could find himself at five-eigHth for the Roosters game against the Bulldogs.

Relevant offers

League

Jason Nightingale called into Kiwis team for Anzac test in Brisbane One-off Anzac test puts heat on Kangaroos to avoid third strike against New Zealand Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith endorses Greg Inglis as the man to replace him NRL boss Dave Smith says Origin, Auckland Nines may be sold separately in new broadcast deal New South Wales captain Paul Gallen expected to be ruled out of State of Origin opener Kiwi Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to miss Kiwis test debut for second time Shaun Johnson felt Benji Marshall deserved a shot at Anzac test for Kiwis Stephen Kearney keeps it light for Kiwis on first day together ahead of Anzac test Greg Eastwood benefits from Jason Taumalolo's injury to make Kiwis team Four players recalled to Kiwis squad for Anzac test, but no Jared Waerea-Hargeaves

Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello believes star back-rower Sonny Bill Williams has the ability to be an NRL playmaker.

But the Roosters won't reveal whether Williams will take over the five-eighth role on Friday night, when he'll face Canterbury at ANZ Stadium for the first time since walking out on the Bulldogs in 2008.

Williams has been named to start in the back-row, but is strongly tipped to replace Mitchell Aubusson in the halves where he would partner No 7 Daniel Mortimer.

The dual international sparked the sluggish Roosters to life shortly before halftime in Sunday's 23-12 loss to the Warriors, getting the ball at first receiver.

The 108kg Williams had success running the ball and also with a deft short-passing game, which would be valuable for a team missing starting halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney to NSW State of Origin duties.

"Obviously he can ball-play, there's no doubt about that," Minichiello said before training on Thursday.

"When he plays at lock he plays a role as a bit of a ballplayer at stages.

"I don't think his game will change too much."

Minichiello admitted Williams had spent limited time at first receiver at training this week, but said it was no different to when he lines up at lock or the second-row.

"He's going to be playing that lock for us and sometimes back-row, where we need to get us on the front foot," he said.

"And then he can ball play when he sees fit. He's pretty skilful."

Minichiello said Williams, who scored a brace of tries against the Bulldogs at Allianz Stadium in the Roosters' 38-0 rout earlier this year, had extra focus about facing his old club on their home turf.

"I'm not too sure [if he's nervous]. He's definitely focused," he said.

"He's focused going into every game, but obviously there's a bit more focus going into this one because it's his past team."

Ad Feedback

- AAP

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who is your pick for international league player of the year?

Shaun Johnson

Jesse Bromwich

Sam Burgess

James Graham

Greg Inglis

Johnathan Thurston

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content