Author(s): Paul Kent
Like most legends, we heard about Sonny Bill Williams before we saw him. Fast, powerful, handsome, enigmatic, Sonny Bill is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime player coaches build premierships on, and clubs create dynasties around. But 'SBW' is not like other footballers. He was rugby league's youngest ever contracted player yet walked out in 2008, breaking his contract with the Bulldogs to play rugby union in France. The NRL vowed never to have him back. Yet in Europe, Sonny Bill's star never dimmed. His legend only grew. All the while, SBW was proving a modern truth. That in this new sporting world success is everything and memory is short. And no matter the code, when it comes to Sonny Bill Williams, everyone - clubs, fans, sponsors, media - ends up playing Sonny Ball.
Paul Kent is a senior writer for News Limited and Australia's greatest rugby league journalist. A decorated feature writer and an acclaimed author with a national TV presence thanks to his multiple roles as a host, panellist and pundit with Fox Sports, Paul has been a journalist 25 years and covered Olympic Games and World Cups in rugby and soccer. Kent was Feature Writer of the Year at the 2009 News Awards and his first book, Johnny Lewis: The Story of Australia's King of Boxing, was published in 2010 to wide acclaim. He lives in Sydney.