Sport Sonny Bill Williams ruled out by Sydney Roosters on eve of qualifying final against Penrith

23:15  01 october  2020
23:15  01 october  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Late-season recruit Sonny Bill Williams will miss the Sydney Roosters’ qualifying final against the Penrith Panthers after aggravating a neck injury.

The Roosters confirmed the news on their club website on Thursday night, exactly 24 hours before kick-off at Panthers Stadium.

“Sonny Bill Williams has been ruled out of the match due to the flare up of a neck complaint,” the Roosters revealed.

“Nat Butcher has been promoted to the interchange bench, while Matt Ikuvalu has come out of the line-up and the remainder of the squad is unchanged.

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“Mitchell Aubusson and Poasa Faamausili are the two remaining reserves.”

Williams signed a short-term deal to return to the back-to-back defending NRL premiers in July.

He played 14 minutes off the bench in his first NRL game in six years against Canberra in Round 17.

The 35-year-old managed 35 minutes the following week against Newcastle and 48 minutes in each of his two previous outings against Cronulla and South Sydney.

It is unclear when Williams first suffered the neck injury that will cause him to miss the high-stakes clash against minor premiers Penrith.

The NRL Physio on Thursday suggested the veteran more than likely sustained the initial damage prior to his return to the Chooks.

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The Roosters did not indicate a timeline for Williams’ return.

Meanwhile, Robinson on Thursday declared his players have learned from their ‘lesson’ in last week’s 60-8 loss to the Rabbitohs and are fully focused on the Panthers.

No side has ever conceded 50-plus points in a game and gone on to win the NRL premiership in the same season.

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