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Sonny Bill looking to nail down basics

Sonny Bill Williams is preaching patience, saying it's going to take him a few weeks to get back into the groove of playing league again.
Sonny Bill looking to nail down basics
by AAP

By Robert Lowe

AUCKLAND, March 15 AAP - Sonny Bill Williams is preaching patience, saying it's going to take him a few weeks to get back into the groove of playing league again.

Williams will make the second appearance of his return to the NRL from rugby union when he runs out for the Sydney Roosters against the Warriors at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday night.

The dual international, who had a pectoral injury heading into the new season, made his comeback in the Roosters' 28-10 defeat to South Sydney on opening night, scoring a try during a solid rather than spectacular performance off the bench.

Williams is happy with the effort he put in, but says he is working on nailing the basics of operating in the backrow again.

"It will take me a few weeks yet to feel fully comfortable," he told reporters after Roosters training in Auckland on Friday.

"It's been five years out of the game and coming back from injury as well. I'm just trying to do the basics well and concentrate on my preparation."

Noted for his offloading skills, Williams was aware that "everyone is looking for the magical play" from him.

"But for me, it's just about doing my core skills as good as I can and making that `ad' line in attack and defence," he said.

"When I keep it simple like that, the big plays usually come off."

He had no doubts things would eventually click into place.

"It's going to take me a while, but it's a long year and I have confidence in my ability that I'll get there."

Williams, 27, quit league in 2008 when he left the Bulldogs in mid-season.

His time in rugby union included 19 Tests for the All Blacks, the last at Eden Park last August in a 22-0 win over the Wallabies.

One of the biggest adjustments for him coming back to the NRL was that he was in the forwards again, rather than being a back as he was in rugby.

"In the backs, you're always scanning for opportunities to do the big plays and things like that," he said.

"In the forwards in league, you have to roll your sleeves up and get in there and do the all the hard yards."

A key change he had noted in the NRL since he last played in the competition was the increased "arm-wrestle factor".

"It's just a grind out there."

Williams' welcome back last week included being steamrollered by Souths opposite Sam Burgess.

Asked which Warriors player he would be looking out for, he said: "All of them boys are big boys, but I guess you would have to say Ben Matulino.

"He's probably the biggest strike weapon. He's got two bricks on his shoulder."

Williams' switch back to league has been accompanied by plenty of hype, but he said he hadn't made too much of it himself.

"This is probably the first big media thing I've done since I've come back," he said.

"Everything I say seems to get blown out of proportion. I just go about my business and that's what I've been doing."




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