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Sonny Bill’s “Lonely” New Beginning

  • October 30th, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

sonny-bill-williams.jpgSonny Bill Williams may have left Australian Rugby League for the cashed up French Rugby Union side Toulon, but it seems he will have trouble escaping his origins or the injuries that plagued his career.

Early this month the “run-away” star from the Canterbury Bulldogs in Sydney was said to be feeling lonely, and even talking about someday going back to the “Dogs”.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph said the Bulldogs had heard he might want to return to the Bulldogs, though their CEO, Todd Greenberg, has quashed all speculation about a welcome back.

He told EUAustralia:

“We’ve heard all the same rumours and we’re not surprised.

“The answer’s no, if you’re asking me if we want him back.

“My advice to Williams is put your head down and do your best.

“I think there are some reality checks for Sonny, because millionaires like this guy in France don’t give money away for nothing.”

Williams move to Toulon in July, despite having four years left on his contract with the Bulldogs, brought about an Australian court case over alleged breach of contract.

An agreement came out of it stipulating that Williams would have to pay the Bulldogs A$750000, and would not be able to play for another National Rugby League club until the end of the 2012 season — at risk of being banned from the code in Australia for life.

After jumping the legal hurdles, Williams was sidelined only a month into the French Rugby Union season due a hairline fracture of his right fibula.

It’s the sixth major injury for the footballer once tipped by the commentator and former Australian representative player, Laurie Daley, to become “the best New Zealand has produced”.

The set-back follows talk in French and Australian media that Williams had fallen out with Toulon club president Mourad Boudjellal.

Boudjellal was reportedly angry that the success of his team, and therefore his investment, was affected by the injury Williams sustained in the three-all draw with bottom-of-the-ladder club Brive.

The Herald Sun quoted one source as saying, “the guy [Boudjellal] is a tyrant who is giving Sonny Bill hell.”

Toulon supporter Charles Frugieure, 66, told EU Australia Online he could understand Australia’s anger at Williams’ sudden departure, but thought there was still one thing more important than loyalty – winning

“This is professional Rugby; you won’t find me complaining about one of the world’s best players working under the great Tana Umaga [Toulon Coach]”, Mr Frugieure said.

Seems they play it rough, down in Toulon.

On the consolation front, Sonny Bill’s girlfriend Genna Shaw was said to be on her way to Toulon, and The Australian reported that sources close to the footballer insist that although frustrated by his stint on the sidelines, he was enjoying life away from Sydney.

Sonny Bill’s Injury Record:

Sonny Bill Williams, who received an enormous A$17,000 for every game he played in the NRL, was fit for only 73 of a possible 120 games. Here’s why:

1. Fractured Fibula August 30, 2008
Still sidelined
2. Stress fractures in both feet February 13, 2006
Out for 4 games
3. Knee cartilage June 4, 2005
Out for 12 games
4. Ankle injury April 3, 2005
Out for 7 games
5. Shoulder injury November 6, 2004
Missed 2 Tests
6. Ankle injury April 26, 2004
Out for 12 games
7. Shoulder reconstruction June 11, 2003
Out for 6 months
8. Broken right fibula September 29, 2002
Missed 10 weeks


Interviews, 24.9.08: Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenburg; Charles Frugieure.

Fox Sports Australia, “Who is Sonny Bill Williams?” 20.09.08.,,22297781-23214,00.html?from=public_rss

The Australian, “Girlfriend move hints all is Sonny in Toulon,” 25.09.08.,25197,24398217-5015651,00.html

The Daily Telegraph, “Sonny Bill Williams reportedly lonely and homesick in France,” 24.09.08.,22049,24394118-5001021,00.html

The Herald Sun, “Bulldogs debate Sonny Bill return,” 25.09.08.