Sonny Bill Williams was brought to the Roosters to help with the club’s injury crisis, but with the troops returning league great Peter Sterling has questioned where the star signing fits in and who misses out.
The Roosters have back-rower Victor Radley out for the season, which is why Williams was trialled in the middle against the Raiders in his return to the NRL.
However with retiring club legend Mitchell Aubusson due back from a wrist injury in the next couple of weeks and Williams’ obvious lack of match fitness, Sterling believes it hard for the Roosters to leave out one of the star forwards that have been playing so well all season.
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“The thing with Sonny is, who’s going to be left out?” Sterling said on WWOS’ Sterlo’s Wrap.
“I’m assuming that the Roosters haven’t bought Sonny Bill Williams to not play him. Now, I went and had a look through the bench and the players that will come into contention, with Sonny now part of the 17.
“Nat Butcher has had a great season and a decision will need to be made, I imagine, by Trent Robinson: Is Nat Butcher the natural cover for Jake Friend? Sam Verrills was last year, he actually scored the first try in the grand final last year. Butcher, I think he’s on the bench.
“[Sitili] Tupouniua would have to be in the 17. I thought the best player on the field the other night was Angus Crichton, so Angus Crichton now comes into the mix as well.
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“Crichton, he’s been out for a long time [injured] as well but he’s going to be pushing for a starting spot. Both he and Tupouniua have got to be in the 17.”
The evolution of players like Nat Butcher and Lindsay Collins due to the Roosters’ injury crisis has given Trent Robinson a welcome selection headache heading into the finals.
Collins has been touted as a possible Origin star for Queensland, which means there is no way he won’t be in the Roosters’ 17.
“Lindsay Collins has had a wonderful year and a lot of these players have had a lot more footy than maybe would be expected because they (the Roosters) have had injury concerns, so they’re well seasoned,” Sterling said.
Retiring Roosters forward Mitch Aubusson is due back in the coming weeks.Source:News Corp Australia
“I think Lindsay Collins is a chance of possibly being on the bench, or certainly in the Queensland Origin squad, at the end of the year.
“Mitch Aubusson is not far from playing as well. And Mitch Aubusson has pretty much been, every time fit and available, in the 17-man squad as well.
“It’s his final year, he’s announced his retirement; do you not want to play him somewhere in your 17?”
That leaves the Roosters with the prospect of one of the club’s key contributors this season having to watch on in the finals if Williams is picked, unless further injuries strike.
Nat Butcher has filled the whole left by Victor Radley’s season ending injury.Source:News Corp Australia
Sterling believes that Williams has the experience that is needed in the big end of season games, but given he is underdone and still learning the club’s systems it would be a bitter pill to swallow for whoever misses the cut and it could affect the push for a three-peat.
“Who do you leave out? I know that they didn’t buy him [Williams] to leave him out,” Sterling said.
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“My question is: Sonny Bill Williams is the fastest of learners but is he a better proposition than those guys that I’ve just mentioned who have put together great seasons, have played a lot of footy, know all the systems, there’s no education needed for them, it’s just a continuation.
“Yes, Sonny will be in the 17. Who misses out? It’s an embarrassment of riches, there’s no doubt about that, but I think it’s a valid question.
“I’m intrigued to find out which way Trent Robinson will go because all of those players I’ve mentioned have contributed greatly to the Roosters’ campaign this year and now one of them, unfortunately, is going to be watching with a No.18 on their back.”
Originally published as‘Who misses out?’: Legend’s SBW concern in Roosters’ brutal selection headache
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