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SBW backs half-time apology with actions

The Big Name

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Roosters crow in NRL Grand Final

The Sydney Roosters defeat the Manly Sea Eagles after some Sonny Bill Williams magic sparks their charge home. Channel Nine.

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Sonny Bill Williams told his teammates at half-time that he would turn his performance around. True to his word, he did so, producing two of the key plays in the Roosters' comeback victory over Manly after a disappointing first half.

''I did a bit of study, of Manly, and their left-side defence - they like to get up a lot, with Steve Matai and Kieran Foran,'' Williams said after the 26-18 win. ''I was trying to punch holes around them, play around them. It didn't come off.

''I said to the boys that I'm going to wipe that first half, and I'm going to go out and play for them. I'd expect the same from the boys. I didn't want to go back on my word. I just went out there and tried to run as hard as I could. I wasn't playing direct [in the first half]. I tried to go around them.

"I said to the boys that I'm going to wipe that first half, and I'm going to go out and play for them": Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams.

"I said to the boys that I'm going to wipe that first half, and I'm going to go out and play for them": Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: Wolter Peeters

''But in the second half, I'm proud to say that I stood up in the tough times. When the game was on the line … I'm my harshest critic, and I just tried to step up. I'm grateful to be in such a talented side.'' Second-half tries to Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Michael Jennings were set up by an offload and a bust by Williams, who won his second premiership, having tasted success with the Bulldogs in 2004.

''I didn't cry, but it was the first time I've come close to crying,'' Williams said. ''I'm just happy. I've been blessed to be in a few good teams over the years, and this is no different. I'm just happy to do it with this group of young men.'' Williams was clearly in a mood to savour the moment. He said he would decide on his future - the subject of so much speculation of late - in the next couple of weeks.

''The last month, I just asked the club if I could not do any media and just concentrate on my thing, that's winning this competition, or doing my part'' Williams said. ''I went into my shell, changed my number, went off social media and just dedicated myself to the cause, that we were trying to achieve.

Manly fans before kick off. Click for more photos

2013 NRL Grand Final

All the action from the 2013 NRL Grand Final between the Manly Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. Like these photos? Go to fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

''It's just so sweet looking down on this [the premiership ring]. It's a dream come true.''

7 comments so far

  • Legend !!!!!!!

    Commenter
    Colin
    Date and time
    October 07, 2013, 1:50AM
    • If you want to move on, you do it with every Roosters fans blessing.

      Well played mate.

      Commenter
      Red Rocker
      Date and time
      October 07, 2013, 5:24AM
      • A few Souths players should learn from this.

        Changing his phone number; no social media; no media commitments.

        There's a few brothers in Souths who can be match winners on their day who probably need to take a hard look at what they are really playing for.

        Top line players play to win premierships, and it takes the type of commitment and professionalism that SBW has to make it all come true.

        The rest of it is all hype, all froth and bubble.

        Well done Roosters, you've earned it.

        Commenter
        Reggie
        Location
        Redfern
        Date and time
        October 07, 2013, 11:20AM
        • Thanks Reggie.......We did deserve it!!

          Commenter
          Rob of Sydney
          Date and time
          October 08, 2013, 8:17AM
        • Hear Hear Reggie

          Souths were, for mine the next best side all year and seemed to lose their way towards the end, denying us both (assuming you are a Bunny) the Grandfinal we really wanted. Win, lose or draw I would have much prefered to have Souths there than Manly. Kudos to you Reggie for ampartial and intelligent analysis of what it takes to win one of the toughest competitions in the world. A magnanimous gesture from a fan that surely must be dissappointed to miss the big one. Souths will be there or there abouts again next year. I just hope the Roosters are too. As for SBW the only thing left for him to achieve is to create a dynasty. Can't do that if he keeps flitting about the world doing whatever he wants. He is already a legend but If he stayed with the Roosters and played out his career therehe would surely go down as one of the best players to ever strap on a boot.

          Commenter
          roosterman
          Location
          Botany
          Date and time
          October 08, 2013, 8:54AM
      • Based on what's been reported in the media about the influence SBW has had at the Roosters, he's created a legacy. No need for a dynasty. He came, he saw, he conquered.

        Commenter
        Rugnut
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        October 08, 2013, 2:36PM
        • A massive challenge to crack Manly's defence in a Grand Final. They are a rock and were on their game in defence. To do it twice in 10 minutes, with your team behind and under pressure, for results each time, is enormous.

          Awesome second half, Sonny. Thanks for the game and even more for the year!!!

          2 NRL premierships and 1 RWC, well earned. Already unprecedented results.

          3 or 4 modern-era NRL premierships are possible, as is an additional RWC.
          Enormous challenges, only a possibility, far from guaranteed.
          Given modern, professional, salary cap era, would match/exceed best in history in either code. To reach such levels in 2 codes would be unimaginable.

          Commenter
          Fan
          Date and time
          October 08, 2013, 4:56PM

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          Winning performance on losing side for Cherry-Evans

          The Clive Churchill Medal came as a bitter-sweet moment for Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, whose stellar performance was soured with a grand-final loss.

          It takes the eye of the Tiger to see the power in his Rooster

          He was left heartbroken by grand final defeats in the 1980s but the tears welling up in Wayne Pearce's eyes on Sunday night were the result of joy not agony.

          Now we wait to see if SBW saunters off into the sunset

          Even if Sonny Bill Williams now walks away from the NRL for a second time, all fans - and not just Sydney Roosters supporters - should celebrate the fact he came back to show off his remarkable talents.

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