SBW to face former teammates

Dangerous: Sonny Bill Williams trains at Moore Park in preparation for Monday night’s game. Photo: Jenny EvansSonny Bill Williams will play his first game against a former Bulldogs teammate in Monday night’s clash with Parramatta at Allianz Stadium.
Nanjing Night Net

There are only two players still in the NRL who played alongside Sonny Bill Williams in his last game for the Bulldogs in 2008 before defecting to rugby union.

In Williams’ final game for the Bulldogs in round 18 of the 2008 season against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, Reni Maitua and Ben Roberts were his teammates. While Maitua, now Parramatta co-captain, remains close with the dual international, he isn’t treating the showdown any differently to another game.

Asked how the Eels planned to shut down the Roosters back-rower, Maitua said: ”The same way every other team deals with him.

”He’s got a good offload, but there’s plenty of other good players in their side that are pretty dangerous, he’s just one of them.”

The Eels have enjoyed a 10-day turnaround from their round-three loss to the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval. Maitua conceded his side didn’t play up to standard against the joint-venture club but believes the long break will hold them in good stead against the Roosters on Monday.

”We’re feeling good, we’re coming off a big turnaround,” Maitua said. ”We were very disappointing against the Tigers. We’ve had a long turnaround and we’re hopeful of putting in a good performance on Monday night.”

The Roosters forward pack have stood up in the past two rounds to lead their side to victories against the Warriors at Eden Park and the Broncos back at Allianz Stadium.

Kiwi front-rowers Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Moa have been two of the Roosters’ best in the first three weeks but Maitua is unfazed by the challenge.

”We’ve worked hard in the preseason and we’re not worried about their forward pack,” the veteran forward said.

The Eels welcome back winger Ken Sio, who hasn’t played since injuring an ankle in the round one victory against the Warriors.

Parramatta will also be boosted by the return of five-eighth Luke Kelly, who was also injured in the win against New Zealand in the opening round.

Kelly’s return has forced Roberts back to the bench to play the role of interchange hooker in combination with Matt Keating.

But it isn’t all good news for the Eels, who will be unable to call on experienced centre Willie Tonga for up to three months after the Queensland representative underwent back surgery on Friday. Tonga has played just 12 games for Parramatta since leaving the North Queensland Cowboys to rejoin the club he debuted for back in 2002.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has named exciting young prop Kane Evans on an extended bench.

Evans is expected to make his NRL debut in place of Aidan Guerra, who played NSW Cup for feeder club Newtown on Saturday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.