Sydney Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams almost exited rugby league on Friday night, but now has a chance to fight on to another grand final.
Sonny Bill Williams isn’t used to emptiness, but that’s how his NRL career almost ended on Friday night.
The cross-code superstar admits the Sydney Roosters’ performance in their epic 31-30 triumph over North Queensland in the elimination final at Allianz Stadium, “wasn’t a great feeling”.
A win is all the Roosters needed to book a blockbuster preliminary final date with South Sydney next Friday, but they’ll need to be a lot better to beat the Rabbitohs.
Letting the Cowboys storm back from 30-0 down has left the Roosters feeling vulnerable and exposed up the middle of the field.
North Queensland got on a roll and didn’t look back.
Williams was uncharacteristically poor.
He dropped balls and was left sprawled on his back after being beaten all ends up by Johnathan Thurston, when the Cowboys ace darted over for a second half try.
To add to the feelings of frustration, Williams was denied a try by the video referee in the final few minutes when he thought he’d grounded the ball.
But the fact is the Roosters live to fight another day.
And Williams remains on track to add to his incredible legacy by claiming a second premiership in as many years in his cameo career for the Roosters before returning to the All Blacks.
“It’s pretty tough,” said Williams when describing his emotions post-match.
“The way they were rolling through our ruck, it wasn’t a great feeling out there.
“We just clinched it at the end there and thankfully that’s how footy goes sometimes.
“Thankfully the coin landed in our favour.
“It’s tough when they’re getting quick play-the-balls and you don’t have time to think.
“One win away from the grand final. It’s a big game this week and we’ve got to turn our attention to Souths who are in great form and are at another level.”
The on-field officials awarded Williams a try in the final six minutes, but the man upstairs overruled, arguing that the bulldozing second rower never grounded the ball thanks to the attention of Cowboys’ Matt Scott and Michael Morgan.
In the end, the decision was academic because five-eighth James Maloney kicked a field goal at the end of the set.
But Williams was miffed.
“I did actually (think I scored). But this day and age the way the video refs go they can go any way,” he said.
“(I thought) the ref giving it try on field would have swung it in our favour but that’s the way it goes.”