Williams to retire from football after Wolfpack bid falls through

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Sonny Bill Williams' storied footballing career has almost certainly come to an end.

Williams was contracted to Toronto for 2021, but his lucrative deal has fallen through after the club was denied readmission to the Super League. The cross-code star has no interest in playing anywhere else, ending one of the most remarkable careers in the rugby codes.

Sonny Bill Williams has almost certainly played his last game of professional rugby league.Credit:NRL Photos

"I'm not too sure at this stage, I've got to talk to the wife," Williams said last month.

"These old joints are a little bit tough to get out of the starting blocks each week. We will see what happens with Toronto and if that falls through, then who knows."

The Roosters have made no secret of their desire to add Williams to their coaching staff. Williams has no intention of playing against one of their NRL rivals and the Wolfpack development closes the door on a return to the playing field.

The Wolfpack's prospective new owners, Wolf Grooming Investment Group, couldn't come to terms with the Super League for re-entry in 2021 following a meeting with the Rugby Football League (RFL) and the 11 Super League clubs. Williams had signed a two-year deal reportedly worth $10 million for seasons 2020-21, but has only been paid a fraction of his contract. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to recoup more of the money owed to him.

Paul Gallen has been agitating to fight Williams for years, but the former Cronulla captain will instead take on former UFC star Mark Hunt. Williams has agreed that Hall will be his next boxing opponent.

Speaking to the Herald in July, Hall said: "I've got nothing but respect for him. But, in saying that, I think I've got the tools to knock him over."

Meanwhile, South Sydney Rabbitohs have released James Roberts from the final year of his playing contract on compassionate grounds. The Herald revealed last week that Roberts had parted company with the club.

"We've held many discussions and meetings with James, his family and his representatives over recent months about a path forward for James," said Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly.

"James is an elite athlete and he certainly could play at the highest levels of the game in the NRL again.
"James and his family will always be Rabbitohs, and we will continue to support them as he looks to continue his career."

In a statement, Roberts said: "With the support of Souths, I am working closely with professionals to get myself healthy and into a position where I can play my best footy and support my family.

"Souths have been very supportive during this period, helping me to focus on the recovery from my pec injury and providing support for Anna, me and the kids."

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