Sonny Bill Williams is a man of his word
IF Sonny Bill Williams had his time over again, it's unlikely he would have agreed to a one-year deal with the Sydney Roosters.
But the man who in 2008 walked out on the Bulldogs with four years to run on his contract said he was a person of his word, and he had given Roosters boss Nick Politis a commitment three years ago that he would play for the club in 2013.
Since then of course, the 27-year-old has consummated his switch to rugby union by winning a World Cup with the All Blacks and a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs, not to mention claiming the New Zealand heavyweight boxing title.
And while he grew up playing rugby league, Williams yesterday admitted he wasn't coming back to the sport because he liked it more than rugby.
"I wouldn't say that. I've grown to love rugby, and I've been pretty successful at it," he said.
"It was pretty tough to honour what me and Nick had agreed on. But we're pretty good friends ... he tried to get me when I was an 18-year-old."
Despite the fact he walked out on the Bulldogs, Williams said a lot of NRL clubs had approached him to return to the competition.
He also said he understood the transition back may not be straight forward, but said he expected to be ready for round one despite having his arm in a sling after a recent operation, and a potential fight lined up for early next year.
"I've been out of the game for five years so it's going to be another big challenge. I didn't know if I could play rugby, but things worked out with a lot of hard work and patience and perseverance," Williams said.
"All I can do is stay humble, work hard and do my best."
He also didn't rule out extending his time at Bondi Junction, saying he would sit down at the end of the season to discuss that possibility.
First up of course he needs to have his contract ratified by the NRL, which was furious at the way he left the game in 2008.
Roosters CEO Brian Canavan said he didn't believe that would be issue, adding the club would lodge a contract "after today".
Canavan also said as a marquee player, Williams would be one of the club's highest-paid players and would leave very limited room for additional signings.
Williams admitted he would be in the spotlight, and would be a target for opposition players, but said that would only provide extra motivation.