SBW hopes defection will cause changes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

SBW hopes defection will cause changes

By Steve Jancetic 07/08/2008 09:32:21 PM Comments (0)

An unapologetic Sonny Bill Williams says he hopes his trailblazing defection to French rugby union will be the catalyst for a better deal for the NRL players he left behind.

Brushing off claims he'd let his former teammates down with his cloak and dagger departure from Australia which led to him being branded a coward, Williams claimed he'd "stood up for all those other players that are sitting at home" by walking out on his five-year contract with the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs and the NRL head back to the courts on Friday where they will seek an injunction preventing Williams from playing with French club Toulon, with whom he is set to make his debut early Saturday morning Australian time in a friendly against Heyres.

"I had to have balls to do what I've done," Williams told the Nine Network's The Footy Show.

"I'm no coward you know. I stood up for myself and I stood up for player rights.

"Cowards are people that run away. I didn't run away.

"That's not a coward act, that's showing some balls to really stand up and show that we don't have to cop that, you know what I mean. We can get what we deserve.

"If some good comes out of what I've done, which I think it will, you know hopefully these players do start getting treated a bit better, not just like cattle."

Williams claimed there were a number of factors - and not just money - which led to his defection, including a major bust up with Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes.

The All Black wanabe claimed he had been disrespected by Folkes when the outgoing coach allegedly mocked his decision to team up with Khoder Nasser and Anthony Mundine.

"Who does he think he is, you know what I mean?" Williams said.

"And it got to me that much over the next couple of days I went and seen my old man and I said to my dad this is what's going on.

"... he said `people like that try and give you advice but not only give you, make you take that advice and use it', he said he's a tyrant."

Williams said he had no regrets about his walkout, other than the fact he would never get to play rugby league again.

The Kiwi international, who is remarkably set to be picked in New Zealand's rugby league World Cup squad on Friday, claimed: "I love playing rugby league, if I wasn't playing professional sport, I'd be playing locals with my brothers."

But instead of playing `locals', Williams will pocket an estimated $2 million over two seasons playing rugby union, with his ultimate goal being to represent the All Blacks at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Williams rejected claims he was being greedy wanting more than the $400,000 a year he was on at the Bulldogs, but admitted disappointment that he didn't get a payrise following Willie Mason's move from the Bulldogs to the Sydney Roosters.

"I had an offer (when I re-signed with the Bulldogs in 2004) to go overseas for over a million dollars," Williams said.

"I stayed for $400,000 ... that's $1.2 million dollars I missed out on and they seem to forget that.

"All of a sudden, because I think they have a little bit of money to spend they might show me a little bit of loyalty back.

"Mason has gone, all these other players (Mark) O'Meley's gone (Braith) Anasta's gone - let's not be naive."

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