Sonny Bill committed to 'Dogs contract - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sonny Bill committed to 'Dogs contract

11/06/2008 05:28:35 PM Comments (0)

In the end disgruntled Bulldog Sonny Bill Williams got nothing but bad publicity.

No pay increase. No promise of club captaincy.

The only success from his month-long standoff and threats to leave the Bulldogs was a hearing with club powerbrokers behind closed doors and a promise to work together into the future.

He could have got both by talking to the club sooner.

Williams avoided last week's meeting but finally joined his new manager Khoder Nasser in a private chat with chief executive Todd Greenberg and club chairman George Peponis on Tuesday night.

The 22-year-old listed his grievances but confirmed he'd stay loyal and complete the five-year $2 million deal he'd personally sought in 2007.

The Bulldogs reaffirmed their commitment to help Williams boost his earnings with third party arrangements while agreeing to help develop his leadership skills.

But club captaincy remains unlikely, at least in the term of his current contract, as skipper Andrew Ryan is a club favourite and is secured until the end of 2011.

Greenberg said both the club and Williams were glad the media speculation could be put to bed after the meeting and called for the fans to warmly embrace the Kiwi Test star.

"I think people just need to see Sonny for what he is, which is a fantastic footballer," said Greenberg.

"Sonny certainly doesn't crave the media spotlight.

"Part of our ongoing commitment to him is to make sure we equip him with the skills to make it as easy as possible to be a high profile footballer in this day and age which is not easy.

"A lot has been said in recent times about Sonny ... (but) Sonny Bill is a very intelligent and very articulate young man.

"He sees he has a limited time playing football and needs to maximise it. Our job is to assist him to do that."

Williams flew out of Sydney late on Wednesday to visit family in Auckland for a few days as the Bulldogs enjoy the bye.

He is aiming to return from a recent knee injury in the Bulldogs clash with Canberra at ANZ Stadium next Saturday and confirmed his commitment to the club in a statement.

"I now have a better understanding of the direction the club is heading and there's no question it's something I want to be a part of," Williams said.

"There are exciting times ahead starting with our game against the Raiders."

Greenberg admitted Tuesday night's meeting was the first proper form of communication he'd had with the marquee player since he started his job 11 weeks ago.

But the CEO is hopeful of a better relationship with Williams heading into the future.

"We had a really good meeting, it's opened up the lines of communication and we're obviously delighted with the news," said Greenberg.

"It was always about trying to establish those lines of communication and last night was the first time Sonny and I had an opportunity to sit down and get some things on the table which was great.

"We've both made a commitment that we'll continue to do that in the future.

"We talked about a variety of issues which we are not going to talk about publicly."

Leadership is one issue Williams raised and while Greenberg is happy to help develop the 22-year-old's skills in that area, Ryan will remain captain for the foreseeable future.

"There's no doubt that Sonny has made very clear that he wants to take on a very strong leadership role in the club and that is something we are going to really embrace with him and work with him on in future years," he said.

"The view from the club is (Andrew Ryan) will continue to be the current club captain.

"At 22 (Williams) certainly doesn't see himself being a leader yet ... that will take years.

"What we will do is be working closely with him and equipping him with the skills that he needs to reach his desire to be a leader in our club."

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