Sonny Bill Williams' signature chased by broadcaster as post-playing career switch beckons
Former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams reportedly remains in the sights of Australian broadcaster Nine as a commentator for their rugby union and rugby league coverage ahead of the upcoming season.
Taking over from Fox as Australia’s premier rugby broadcasters after securing a $100m, three-year broadcast deal with Rugby Australia last year, Nine have sought the signature of Williams as a commentator while his playing future remains uncertain.
The 35-year-old last played for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL as a loanee from the Toronto Wolfpack in 2020, but the Canadian club won’t take part in this year’s Super League due to implications brought on by COVID-19.
That leaves Williams’ two-year contract with the Wolfpack, worth a record-breaking $10m, in limbo, as does the neck surgery he underwent at the end of last year’s NRL campaign.
While many clubs would be eager to sign the two-time World Cup-winning All Black, two-time NRL champion and heavyweight boxer, a report from the Sydney Morning Herald indicates Williams will only make a call on his sporting career after meeting with his neurosurgeon in the next month.
Either way, the Herald suggests Nine are intent on bringing both Williams and former dual-code female international Allana Ferguson onboard alongside a commentary lineup that also features a raft of well-known names within Australia and abroad.
According to the report, Williams and Ferguson would join the likes of experienced callers Sean Maloney and Andrew Swain, popular TV host Nick McArdle, and former Wallabies stars Tim Horan and Drew Mitchell as those to have already signed on.
Previous SMH reports have also stated that Williams may also work for Nine in a dual-code capacity and work for the free-to-air network as a league commentator in the NRL as well.
Through its new digital sports channel Stan Sports, Nine will kick-off its reign as Australia’s top rugby broadcaster next month when the Reds host the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium in the first match of the 2021 Super Rugby AU season on February 19.
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