THE WRAP: NRL round 16

NRL logoBy STEVE MASCORD
SYDNEY Roosters coach Trent Robinson says he would have no problem with Sonny Bill Williams boxing in the off-season and returning to the NRL in 2014.
After Williams starred in the tricolours’ 18-12 Monday Night Football clash win over Manly at Allianz Stadium, Robinson spoke passionately about rugby league doing more to keep stars like Williams and win back the likes of Israel Folau.
After addressing the media, Robinson was asked by Immortal Andrew Johns whether he would have an objection to Williams, 27, continuing his boxing career during the summer, even if it meant a late start to the ’14 pre-season.
“Yeah, I’d have no problem with it,” Robinson told Triple M.
“I was pretty cool with it last time. I was happy with his prep, I talked to him every week, and I know what kind of guy he is.
“If a guy wants to go and earn some money in another sport for a short period of time in the off-season, I’m OK with that.
“I know he’s preparing well and he’s a professional. I think to keep him in our sport … you say ‘no’ and he has to go to another code to do it, it’s only their gain. It’s our loss.”
When asked if there was any news on the bid to retain Williams, who is on a one-year contract, Robinson answered: “To tell you the truth, we haven’t even talked about it.
“I’m sort of waiting for the hierarchy and Sonny to talk. I’m not putting pressure on it because I know there’s going to be a lot of pressure from outside.
“Sonny’s added huge value to the Roosters and also our to game.
“Even I’m switching over and watching Israel Folau play. There’s a sense of pride, when he plays well as well, for every rugby league supporter.
“We don’t want that to happen with Sonny – going to see him play another code. We want to keep them in our game. We need to keep them in our game.
“We’ve got a great product but we need players like that … and if we can, it would be great to have Israel Folau back as well. If we can get Israel back, we must.”
Poor goal-kicking kept the Sea Eagles in MNF for longer than would otherwise have been the case, with a contentious high tackle penalty against forward Justin Horo finally allowing the home team to open up an eight point lead in the 48th minute.
Meanwhile, Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey believes a Sydney Roosters player could be in strife for an incident that may have left interchange forward James Hassan with a facial injury.

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