Signing Williams is a great lift for our sport
Sonny Bill is arguably the biggest name in either code – Toronto should be congratulated
Sonny Bill Williams joining Toronto Wolfpack has now been confirmed and I can only applaud a move I feel has so much potential.
Last week, I paid tribute to one of our biggest superstars when Sam Burgess retired, and if rugby league can gain arguably the biggest name in either code, then I cannot see anything but good for our game.
Toronto’s owners are making a big, but well-planned decision and good on them – it is a huge coup for the Wolfpack to get Sonny Bill in their inaugural season in Super League. Toronto are a great story in their own right and if you had told me eight years ago that a transatlantic team would be playing in the top flight in 2020, I would have never believed you.
But sport changes and who would have thought Bradford would go from world club champions to being relegated and eventually liquidated?
The way sport changes fascinates me, so Toronto’s rise is something to keep an eye on.
On Great Britain matters, it is our third match of the tour tomorrow and will be the first time I have faced New Zealand in Christchurch. Last week’s game was in the balance right until the end – we probably could have executed better in attack but, as a group, we felt it was hard to fault the overall performance.
In those type of games, the goal is always to concede no more than two tries and keep the opposition to under 16 points. There was much talk about the slowness of the ruck and, while we wanted to score more tries, we have not been helped by losing more bodies.
Ryan Hall got injured, but that is the nature of the game and a lot of lads are versatile.
The game is about opinions and I am sure there are people back home who would have picked a different Great Britain squad. But Wayne Bennett is the coach for a reason and you have to back him – seven NRL Premierships suggest he knows what he is doing.
We are looking forward to hopefully picking up a win before the final Test in Papua New Guinea. Being on tour can be challenging and enjoyable too, but essentially we are here to do a job and win Tests.
On days off, some of the lads might go for a beer together, play poker, give the Xbox and Playstation a bit of hammer, or spend time with any family they have out here. Jonny Lomax is doing a degree and getting a bit of extra study in. There is never a dull moment in camp and often pranks get pulled. Josh Hodgson lost his passport before the flight to Christchurch, much to his panic, and I hold my hands up for that one. It was in response to Josh and Lachlan Coote putting Tabasco sauce in my water... after I had bought them lunch!
We have a Whatsapp group which is always interesting, but I do not do any social media.
When I was a kid I had a poem on my wall about looking at the man in the mirror. I would not want those views to be distorted by people who are entitled to an opinion as I have no wish to open myself up to criticism.
In other big news, it has been announced that England will play Australia in an Ashes series at Bolton, Leeds and Tottenham next year. There is talk of the Kangaroos also playing some club sides while they are on tour and I think that would be fantastic.
For me, international rugby league is in the best shape it has been for a long time and the more quality games we have, the better. It does not get any tougher than an Ashes series, but hopefully we can sell out for all three games – and hopefully I will be involved.
Big switch: Sonny Bill Williams sits with his daughter Imaan after his final game for the All Blacks against Wales last week