Australia

League greats want SBW rushed back for battered Roosters

Superstar Sonny Bill Williams would give the injury-ravaged Sydney Roosters a huge morale boost - and his experience hugely benefit the premiers who against Melbourne "looked like a bunch of kids".

So says NSW coach Brad Fittler and Immortal Andrew Johns, who were happy for the Roosters to dump their ultra-cautious approach with Williams and rush him straight into action against the Wests Tigers next Saturday.

The premiers now have more than $4.5 million worth of talent in the casualty ward after confirmation Luke Keary broke a rib in two places, Lachlan Lam would require ankle surgery and club stalwart Mitch Aubusson suffered a suspected chipped bone in his wrist. The club has 11 players sidelined, including nine from last year's grand final triumph.

Should the senior cavalry not return against the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, Fittler and Johns said Williams needed to return.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has no such appetite to rush Williams back and insists round 17 against Canberra – in three weeks time – will give the 35-year-old ample time to be ready.

"But I think if you asked Sonny about playing next week, he'd say 'Sonny Will'," Fittler told the Herald. "I haven't seen Sonny, I haven't spoken to him, but he's an athlete.

Roosters Lachlan Lam, Luke Keary and Mitchell Aubusson all went down with injury on Thursday night.

Roosters Lachlan Lam, Luke Keary and Mitchell Aubusson all went down with injury on Thursday night.Credit:Getty, NRL

"If the Roosters have got the same number of players out like they had against Melbourne, and if Boyd Cordner isn't back, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves isn't back and Brett Morris isn't back ... they looked like a bunch of kids against Melbourne.

"He'd beef up their experience, and the kids would be buzzed to run out with him.

"They also looked like they lost some of their points in attack, and Sonny has a pass, he might be a bit rusty, but he'd give them a boost there. They'd be down after Thursday night.

"I'd play him, put it that way."

Sonny Will? A couple of league greats are keen for SBW to be rushed back for the Roosters.

Sonny Will? A couple of league greats are keen for SBW to be rushed back for the Roosters.Credit:Rhett Wyman

Johns was of a similar opinion and if Williams proved as early as Saturday at his first training session he was in reasonable shape, there would be no issues playing.

"I'd be playing him next week off the bench," Johns said on Immortal Behaviour.

"They [the Roosters] have got a lot of injuries, I'd be putting him on the bench, giving him 15 to 20 minutes. It'd be a great lift for the game."

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Williams finished his required 14-day quarantine on Thursday evening and greeted his Roosters teammates early Friday. He wore a black beanie and had strapping on his right knee, which required a minor cleanout earlier this year.

There is nothing stopping Robinson from naming Williams on Tuesday, however he has not played since March 5 when Toronto were smashed 66-12 by Leeds in the Super League.

All Robinson said after the 24-6 loss to the Storm was: "You need about three weeks out of isolation to get going, that would be it [Canberra] – nobody get excited about next week."

Robinson and Melbourne counterpart Craig Bellamy said fatigue had led to the large number of injuries seen so far this season, with games being played faster bcause of the set restart rule and weeks off for clubs to freshen up, but accepted there was no alternative given the climate.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys told 2GB's Ben Fordham: "I think it's a multitude of reasons for injuries. An expert tells us the majority of injuries happen when the players are fresh, not when they're fatigued.

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"There's no doubt there are some injuiries when players are fatigued, but we need to have that part of the game where it's exciting and the smaller players can play the game."

Keary was cleared of any damage to his spleen and discharged from hospital after 2am with a broken rib. He is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks.

Drew Hutchison and Kyle Flanagan, who have 31 NRL games between them, will be entrusted to guide the Bondi club around for the next little period.

Hutchison grew up a Bulldogs fan and was excited to meet one of his childhood idols for the first time.

"I can't wait to meet Sonny and see what he brings to this team," Hutchison said.

"If you look at him, he's a specimen, you're going to grow a leg and the way he goes about his work I heard he's the utmost professional. All the boys are excited."

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