Sonny Bill open to All Black poaching - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sonny Bill open to All Black poaching

By Todd Balym 01/05/2008 07:05:42 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs superstar Sonny Bill Williams would seriously contemplate switching to rugby union and chase dual international status if the All Blacks offered him enough money.

Williams' thoughts are sure to send shockwaves through Belmore after the club secured him on a bargain five-year deal last year worth around $400,000 a season.

The fact Williams agreed to less than his market value for a longer term deal could come back to haunt the Bulldogs if the New Zealand Rugby Union moves to poach the 22-year-old.

Just last month, Williams said his belief in loyalty was diminished after Willie Mason walked out on the Bulldogs last November and in the future he would only sign deals that looked after him and his family.

He could easily command double his NRL contract at the All Blacks and said the lure of defecting to union was genuine.

"It's probably the number one sport and game in New Zealand and every young kid aspires to such great heights as playing for the All Blacks," he told the Nine Network.

"If they (NZRU) did come knocking with a good offer I would definitely have to sit down and seriously look at it.

"I'm grown up now and professional so, yeah, I would have to say yes."

Unlikely to defect from the NRL is Parramatta halfback Brett Finch.

Finch is almost certain to re-sign with the Eels in the next fortnight and reject several offers to defect to the English Super League.

His manager Steve Gillis held talks with Eels management this week, is now waiting for an offer in writing from the club and won't negotiate with other clubs until all options at Parramatta are exhausted.

"We are off and running, hopefully we know more in the next week," said Gillis.

"He has always said he would like to stay so we are working toward that now.

"The length (of the deal) is not going to affect his decision.

"There is a fair bit of interest there (English clubs) but he is only 26 and (it's) probably a bit early for him."

Cronulla halfback Brett Kimmorley met with his manager George Mimis on Thursday to discuss plans to find a new home for 2009.

But at least one English club, either Hull KR or Wigan, is out of the running after Canberra granted a release to halfback Michael Dobson to return to the Super League.

Dobson will play his final game for the Raiders in Auckland against the Warriors on Sunday, but his departure for England won't be confirmed until his visa is finalised.

Canberra officials were in Sydney on Thursday discussing off-contract Wests Tigers backrower Chris Heighington but are yet to formalise an offer for the NSW Country debutant.

Manager Wayne Beavis said there is plenty of interest in Heighington and he would not rush into a decision on his future.

Also keeping everyone guessing is Wigan star Trent Barrett, with Beavis unable to confirm if he has asked for a release to return to the NRL next season.

Manly, meanwhile, are reportedly making moves for North Queensland utility Justin Smith to fill the troublesome five-eighth position.

The Sea Eagles have granted former Kiwi Test centre David Vaealiki an immediate release so he could accept a two-year rugby union offer in France.

Gold Coast re-signed fullback Preston Campbell for a further season, keeping him at the club until 2009, with his future beyond next year to be discussed at a later date.

Penrith have promoted general manager Michael Leary to rugby league chief executive with Panthers CEO Glenn Matthews to focus purely on the leagues club.

Leary said his goal was to get the club "winning games" and to keep developing their large nursery of young stars, but did not rule out making a move to sign Roosters captain Craig Fitzgibbon.

"We are having a look around at the moment ... (Fitzgibbon) would most probably come into the equation, but not very strongly," he said.

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