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Round 6 vs SBW



[h=1] Haz all class has always

Canterbury-Bankstown legend Hazem El Masri says he's made peace about Sonny Bill Williams[/h]

[*] By James MacSmith
[*] AAP
[*] March 28, 2013 2:05PM

Hazem El Masri ... has made his peace with Sonny Bill leaving the Bulldogs. Source: Adam Ward / News Limited

Canterbury-Bankstown great Hazem El Masri insists he bears no ill will towards Sydney Roosters backrower Sonny Bill Williams but he doesn't expect Bulldogs fans to share that sentiment when the two NRL sides clash in two weeks' time.

Prior to Williams' return to rugby league this season El Masri famously said the dual international should not be allowed back in the game he walked away from mid-season in acrimonious circumstances in 2008.

Three games in and El Masri said Williams was again on his way to becoming one of the game's best players but he had no doubt Bulldogs fans would show him they hadn't forgotten during the April 11 match at Allianz Stadium.

"I hold no grudges. I have no animosity against anyone but it is about what happened and that has been well documented," El Masri said.


"It's not just me (who thought he shouldn't be allowed back) but a lot of senior guys who were there at Canterbury, especially the way he went about it, especially when you really need someone at that time.

"I'm not backtracking from those comments. I got asked that question and I was honest when I answered it but I never questioned his ability and some people have mistaken that.

"I have always thought he was one of the game's top players and I have no doubt he will come back and cruise through this ... it was never about his ability.

"Everyone is responsible for their own decisions so good luck to him. I just hope no one goes about it (leaving a club) the same way he has."

The round-six match between the Roosters and the Bulldogs on April 12 shapes as one of the defining matches of the NRL season and El Masri said Williams' move to the Roosters would only add to the intense rivalry between the two clubs.

"Games like the Bulldogs and St George and us and Parramatta, local derbies, have got that sort of rivalry and games between us and the Roosters have got that recently as well," the former NSW and Australian representative said.

"There's no doubt that game will and the fact that it has got Sonny in there will add to it as well and I'm sure you blokes in the media are not going to let it go.

"You are going to pump it up as much as you can it would be dumb not to.

"It's such an important game him coming back and I'm sure the fans are going to let him know how they feel." 


[h=1]Roosters focus on security for SBW's return against Dogs[/h]
Sydney Roosters boss Brian Canavan says there will be serious consideration about the security needed in two weeks' time for Sonny Bill Williams' long-awaited showdown with Canterbury.

He also revealed the club hadn't ruled out using Williams in the pre-match promotion, despite the Kiwi superstar being branded an outcast by the Bulldogs' army when he left Canterbury for French rugby in 2008.

''We haven't really discussed it in detail, yet,'' said Canavan. ''We'll be mindful there'll be a big crowd, we'll be mindful there'll be a lot of passion in there because both supporter groups are very passionate - and there's a great rivalry between the two clubs from a spectator point of view.

''We're predicting a big crowd so there'll be the appropriate number of security people on call. We're hopeful to get in excess of 35,000 supporters.

''The weather is still warm, it's a Friday night.''

Canterbury fans vowed never to forgive the one-time favourite son who became an All Black and held a version of the New Zealand heavyweight boxing title. Indeed, Canavan was made aware that the wounds from Williams' walk out hadn't healed during the opening round of the NRL season.

A group of Canterbury supporters went to the Roosters-South Sydney match dressed in their battle colours and a sign that declared, ''We haven't forgotten''.

The group of supporters sat behind the goal posts to jeer Williams when he made his debut in the red, white and blue before police made them take down their banner.

''How he left us,'' said Ali, the group's leader when asked to explain his sign. ''We haven't forgotten how we made such a big deal of him, paid him a fortune, but he left us. It's bad. Especially how he joined our worst rivals. He disappointed us.''

Canavan said while he was confident the Friday night match on April 12 would be incident-free, the security would be discussed between the Roosters, the SCG Trust and Canterbury.

''We'll obviously take necessary precautions, but that is always done in conjunction with the SCG Trust and our opposing club,'' he said.

Canavan, who was appointed chief executive of the Roosters last year, was also at the club's helm in 2004 when Roosters and Bulldogs fans clashed in a series of brawls inside the stadium.

Canavan said the relationship between the two clubs and the supporters was good, adding: ''The Canterbury club - and ourselves - have come a long way since then.

''And there's also been a big difference in how Canterbury crowds present themselves now [compared] to a decade ago.''

Read more:


No matter result next week bulldogs are still 2/2 vs roosters for grand final victories that is all that matters 


SBW will make me support the dogs :) 


It's time to bury hatchet over SBW defection, says Greenberg

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Sonny billboard a provocative promotion in Dogs territory

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we have to get over the sonny bill thing. its past and finished with he has done what he done and has to live with it. its great he is back in league and bringing in the crowds. the best way to get some back is to do it on the field and stop him being an influence. 


With Trent hodkinson back this weekend will Tim lafai keep the kicking duties? 

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