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March 19, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Nothin’ But Net – The Idiocy of Sonny Bill

While a goldfish has the shortest attention span of any animal, Sonny Bill Williams has the shortest attention span of any sportsman.

Last week we were told that Sonny Bill will next year be back in Australia, playing league for the Roosters. The code switch completes a whirlwind world tour which has seen the man play three different sports in three different countries over the course of three years.

He began playing for the Bulldogs, during which time he was regarded one of the best players in the game and won an NRL Premiership. In 2008 he walked out on his contract to switch codes.

Next in line was rugby union. He gave it three years earning megabucks in the south of France before returning to New Zealand to give it a shot with the All Blacks.

He constantly jeopardised his union career by insisting on furthering his farcical career as a boxer. The NZRFU allowed it, and Sonny Bill became an All Black. He contested a Super 15 final, won an ITM Cup, and lifted the Rugby World Cup.

On first look, that’s a ripper of a CV.

But if Sonny Bill had the maturity and dedication of some of our better athletes, he could have been one of the greats.
By walking out on his contract at the Bulldogs, Sonny Bill sacrificed his status as one of the best players ever to grace the sport. He only represented his country a handful of times, and will largely be remembered only for his abrupt departure, rather than his mastery on the pitch.

His three seasons in France gave him a second chance. It gave everybody a while to calm down and forget about the nature of his code-switch. His ‘commitment’ to becoming an All Black got everyone far too hyped up.

In union he has buckets of talent, and was capped for New Zealand—one of the greatest honours in our country’s sport. He has played 14 tests for the All Blacks (most from the bench) and his most memorable moments on the field have little to do with rugby.

Firstly, his shirt ripped in HD slow-mo, and the country took a collective, distinctly female-sounding gasp. And secondly, he was on the pitch for a matter of seconds in a Rugby World Cup semi- final before smashing the living crap out of an opposition player and receiving a yellow card. Had the player in question not been Quade Cooper, more would have been made of Sonny Bill’s stupidity.

In truth, his contribution to our success in the World Cup was minimal.

The point I’m trying to make is that if the rumours are true, and Sonny Bill returns to league next year, it’s just another step in an appallingly long trip around the world during which he has blown his chances of being a true legend.

He’s achieved a ridiculous amount in his career so far, but barely deserves any of it. The man is easily distracted and lacks the focus of a sportsman of whom the country could be genuinely proud.

Instead, he’ll likely be remembered for his fame off the field than on it. Sadly though, this might be enough to satisfy him.


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