Rugby league legends Brad Fittler and Paul Gallen have butted heads over whether Sonny Bill Williams should make an early NRL return for the Sydney Roosters.
Williams today completed his quarantine period and is now free to train with the Roosters after he signed on for the remainder of the season with the defending premiers last month.
The Roosters, who were already missing the likes of captain Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton, Victor Radley, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Verrills, were dealt a triple injury blow during Thursday night’s 24-6 loss to the Melbourne Storm.
Star five-eighth Luke Keary was rushed to the hospital after suffering a rib injury with fears he may have internal bleeding.
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The Roosters also lost veteran Mitchell Aubusson to a left arm injury while young halfback Lachlan Lam went down with a syndesmosis injury.
Following the loss to the Storm, Fittler suggested the Roosters might have no choice but to rush Williams into the squad and have him ready for Round 15’s clash with the Wests Tigers.
However, Gallen rubbished the solution as the two butted heads as to what direction the Roosters should take as they battle through a lengthy injury list.
Fittler: You’ve got to think Sonny Bill Williams has come at a pretty good time.
Gallen: You can’t honestly think Sonny Bill Williams is going to walk into the team next week after not playing for months?
Fittler: Gal, what are you going to do? What else? There’s no one. They’re out, they’ve got eleven players.
Gallen: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner, they can’t come back?
Fittler: I don’t think so.
Gallen: You really think they would risk Sonny Bill Williams and put him in for next weekend after what he’s been through? He’s been in quarantine for two weeks.
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Fittler then doubled down on his comments and said an early return for Williams could be the “great story” that inspires the Roosters.
“They’ve got quite a big turnaround, hopefully, Sonny can get some run in his legs,” Fittler said.
“I don’t know what other options there are. Egan Butcher is the only one I can see through the list and he’s a 19-year-old, whether you want to throw him out there at the moment.
“Maybe this is the great story. Sonny’s come at the right time and this is what he’s paid to do.
“We talk about how motivating he can be, there are some kids who need motivating, this is his job.”
But Gallen responded and finished off the discussion by declaring the Roosters would be asking a lot of the 35-year-old if they decided to rush Williams back into the squad.
“I just think it would be a big ask on Sonny to fly back overseas, spend two weeks in quarantine and play next weekend,” Gallen said.
“I think it’s a big ask. I see what Freddy’s saying, but I say it won’t happen.”