Sonny-Bill shuns the praise - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sonny-Bill shuns the praise

15/04/2004 08:47:44 PM Comments (0)

When you are just 18 and already playing first-grade in the National Rugby League it would be easy to have your head turned by extravagant praise from Australian league legend Laurie Daley.

Daley was moved to tip the teenager to become New Zealand's greatest player after watching the imposing 1.91m, 102kg Sonny Bill Williams score a strong solo try in his debut for the Bulldogs against Parramatta last month.

However, Williams, in Wellington for the round six match against the New Zealand Warriors, said he thought the comment was inappropriate.

But it did not end there. The Auckland-born centre or back-rower was also likened to Brisbane's Gorden Tallis, one of the toughest and most talented forwards in the NRL, and past Queensland State of Origin hero Gene Miles.

"It was just something people said after my first game, and you can't take too much from it," Williams said of Daley's comments.

"I know it's over-the-top. I just want to be one of the boys, keep a level head and let the pressure of such comments wash over me."

Bulldogs football and media manager Bradley Clyde knows all about young players receiving lavish praise at an impressionable age and never fulfilling their potential.

"At Sonny's age, players discover things like girls and cars and having fun, and it can get in the way of their football," Clyde, a former Australian international, said.

"I think it's much too early to say how good Sonny can be. I would not like to load him up with too much pressure.

"It's most important he's enjoying himself, and happy with the standard of his football.

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