Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler believes the influence of Sonny Bill Williams could extend to the State of Origin arena this season after backing the New Zealand international to have a positive impact on the NSW players at the Sydney Roosters.
Williams made a cameo appearance for the Roosters against the Canberra Raiders last Saturday night with the former premiership-winning forward back in the NRL for a brief stint after COVID-19 forced the Toronto Wolfpack to withdraw from the Super League competition.
The 35-year-old has long been lauded for his professionalism and played a key role in helping the Roosters win a premiership in 2013 during his last stint in the NRL.
Fittler is hoping SBW will have a similar impact on the NSW players, which includes captain Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco, and hopefuls Luke Keary, Angus Crichton, Daniel Tupou, Kyle Flanagan and Brett and Josh Morris, as they aim to win three consecutive series this season.
“Everyone who has come out of the Roosters and come into Origin has always been great,” Fittler told Five with Freddy for nswrl.com.au.
“They’re very well coached, they’re part of a great club and the one thing that Sonny does is he approaches challenges really well and they’ll all learn a lot from that somewhere along the lines.”
Williams looked gassed after playing 14 minutes in his first professional match in six months but Fittler was impressed with what he saw and said the Kiwi superstar will only get better.
“He wears his reputation so well,” Fittler said.
“He’s gone through major life changes as a young bloke, running away at certain stages and then facing up, he just takes on challenges so well.
“There’s a bit of inspiration in Sonny for everyone and I thought he was great on the weekend. He didn’t play that long but you saw how fatigued he was and how hard he worked out there.
“I thought his first game was awesome and it was against Canberra, a team that was in a Grand Final last year.”