Sonny Bill Williams to thrive in uncomfortable middle

Sonny Bill Williams to thrive in uncomfortable middle

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson claims Sonny Bill Williams faces uncomfortable situations better than anyone in either rugby code after his NRL return.

Robinson will continue to tinker with SBW in the middle of the field with the dual-code international playing in a new position at age 35.

Williams played just 14 minutes in his return to the NRL on Saturday night, coming back in a game far quicker than the one he left back in 2014.

He was also thrown into the thick of things in the middle, playing at lock where he has barely played in the NRL while also spending all his time on the edge in union.

Robinson will keep his options open on where Williams spends the rest of the season, willing to throw him in the deep end in the middle or revert him to the edge where the Roosters are stacked with talent.

“That was a good opportunity to get him out there and to get him uncomfortable,” Robinson said.

“To get some combinations going and then get him off and get him ready again for next week.

“That’s what the team needed from him and he knew that … He had some goal-line defence sets to do and I thought he did really well.

“Then he had the ability to offer some combination plays and some running and passing.

“The other plan is to play him on the edge so we will just see how we go and I will keep working on those combinations.”

Williams’ return was the most hyped comeback to the game in years, with an intense media spotlight on the former All Black.

But Robinson said Williams had no issue dealing with the attention, having been under the spotlight since his debut for Canterbury as a teenager 16 years ago.

And it’s for the same reason he has no concern issuing him the challenge of making his return in unfamiliar surroundings on the field.

“At his age and the scrutiny he has been under for a long period of time, he knows how to handle moments and he searches for those moments in his life,” Robinson said.

“He inspires all of us to lean into something. To search for the uncomfortable and test what you’re made of.

“That’s why we’re all attracted to him because he searched for challenges.

“Sonny leans into uncomfortable situations as much as any player in the history of the two codes.”

© AAP