Manly have been warned to brace themselves for a fired-up Sonny Bill Williams in the grand final after the Sydney Roosters star was surprisingly snubbed at the Dally M awards.
Despite his enormous impact on the Roosters’ grand final run this season, Williams didn’t feature in the top 10 on the leaderboard for the overall prize and was beaten to the second-rower of the year gong by clubmate Boyd Cordner.
Roosters great Luke Ricketson says even after just one year at Bondi Junction, Williams had proven himself the club’s greatest signing since Brad Fittler and Phil Gould arrived as a player/coach combination in the mid-1990s.
Ricketson said he was shocked Williams was overlooked at the awards ceremony yesterday but hopes it will serve as a blessing in disguise for the Roosters against the Sea Eagles.
‘‘He could have definitely won a few awards and hopefully it spurs him on for Sunday,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s been tremendous for the game and his impact on the Roosters has been massive every game.
‘‘He’s been one of our top two or three players every game and he didn’t get the recognition.’’
Ricketson said he couldn’t go past Fittler and Gould as the two recruits who had the most influence on the Roosters in the past 25 years.
However, he said that if Williams decides against a move back to rugby union and re-signs with the Roosters, there’s no reason why he can’t make a similar mark.
Ricketson said that Williams’ professionalism made a vital impression on young Polynesian players at the club – a crucial ingredient in their push for a first title since 2002.
‘‘Sonny has been huge, especially in this era where it’s all about professionalism,’’ said the retired 300-game lock.
‘‘A lot of Polynesian kids look up to Sonny and he’s taught them some amazing things and they’ll keep that throughout their careers.
‘‘He’s good on and off the field. He’s been a marketer’s dream.
‘‘I just hope we can hang onto him for the next couple of years.’’
Another Roosters legend, Russell Fairfax, also expressed his surprise at Williams missing out on Dally M recognition but said that it showed the former Bulldog had developed into a true team player.
‘‘It’s not about him; it’s about doing stuff for the other guys,’’ Fairfax said.
Williams sat on the sidelines during Roosters training yesterday but Boyd Cordner firmed as a likely starter for Sunday’s NRL grand final by taking part in the session.
Cordner and fellow forward Luke O’Donnell are fighting to prove their fitness for the decider against Manly.
Both participated in the light field session at Moore Park in an encouraging sign for the Roosters.
Williams didn’t have his boots on and sat and watched as his teammates warmed up with ball drills.
Williams was hampered by a calf injury in the lead up to the final series but hasn’t missed a game.
He suffered from food poisoning when he played in last weekend’s preliminary final win over Newcastle.
He was wearing a compression sock yesterday but wouldn’t appear to be in any doubt for what could be his last game of rugby league.
The Roosters are desperate for Williams to re-sign but the dual international is strongly weighing up a return to rugby union.
Neither Cordner nor O’Donnell were named in the Roosters’ 17-man grand final team but many believe both will be included. AAP