Roosters wait on SBW deal
New Roosters signing Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: Brendan Esposito
The Sydney Roosters aren't concerned their marquee signing Sonny Bill Williams's return to the NRL is in danger of heading down the same path as Israel Folau's aborted comeback to the code.
Five weeks after the dual international was finally unveiled as the club's biggest recruit in years, Williams's one-year contract is yet to be officially registered by the NRL's salary cap auditor Ian Schubert.
The 27-year-old is expected at training with the Roosters in just over 50 days after he finishes his rugby union commitments in Japan and fights South African Francois Botha in a heavyweight boxing bout.
But Roosters fans might be feeling a bit jittery that the strapping New Zealander's $550,000 deal hasn't been ratified, potentially jeopardising an emotion-charged return to rugby league after walking out on the Bulldogs in 2008.
Folau walked away from a return to the NRL with Parramatta earlier this month, opting for a switch to rugby union with the NSW Waratahs as he ''couldn't wait any longer sitting around'' for his contract to be sorted out. However, Sydney Roosters chief operating officer Brian Canavan isn't fretting over the time taken to get Williams's deal ticked off and still hopes for a resolution over the next week.
''We're just exchanging correspondence back and forth [with the NRL],'' Canavan said on Tuesday.
''It's just the process that happens with these more extended contracts. The sooner the better. It would be lovely before Christmas.''
Canavan even suggested the reported jump in the salary cap from $5.85 million in 2013 to $6.3 million in 2014 will put the club in a strong position to extend the in-demand Williams's stay at Bondi Junction.
''We'd like to make him as comfortable and as happy as we can so he looks to our club to be his future,'' Canavan said.
''We've just got to let that unfold. He wants to prove himself again in rugby league. If that's comfortable with him, we'll have further chats with him as soon as he opens the door.''
Canavan also isn't worried about Williams's February 8 bout in Brisbane in light of Cronulla captain Paul Gallen's elbow injury that flared up boxing in Auckland last weekend.
''That's the risk you take,'' he said. ''The physical preparation leading up to a fight is incredibly intense and that actually benefits them.''
Williams is expected to pull on the famous red, white and blue jersey for the Roosters's last trial match against the Wests Tigers on February 23 at Allianz Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Roosters have terminated the NRL contract of troubled outside back Joseph ''BJ'' Leilua.
The 21-year-old has been released immediately from the final two years of his contract.
Leilua was given a one-year good behaviour bond in October for sending a nude photo of an ex-girlfriend to her brother and friend.
The centre made his first grade debut back in 2010 and is regarded as an up-and-coming talent.
Leilua was earlier this week selected in an emerging NSW Blues State of Origin squad and previously played for City Origin.
The Roosters issued a two paragraph release explaining Leilua's sacking on Tuesday and said they would not make any further comment. AAP