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SBW in doubt for Roosters in season opener
By Russell Jackson
18:50 AEST Sun Mar 3 2013

Luke O'Donnell says fellow Sydney Roosters recruit Sonny Bill Williams has been training as though he'll play in Thursday's NRL season opener against South Sydney at Allianz Stadium.

An official call is yet to be made on whether Williams makes his tri-colours' debut against the Rabbitohs with the back-rower's build-up to the season restricted by a pectoral muscle injury suffered playing rugby in Japan.

Former NSW and Australian enforcer O'Donnell, who is making his first NRL appearance for the Roosters against Souths, admits he'd be disappointed if Williams didn't play in the match.

"He's trained like he's going to be playing," O'Donnell said on Sunday.

"Team selection and his fitness and that sort of thing is up to the coaches and probably Sonny himself but like I said, he's been training pretty well.

"I can only speak from a player's perspective and it would be disappointing not to be running out there with him. But we've all got a job to do so everyone's mind will be 100 per cent on playing well I suppose and not too much on Sonny and whether he's there or not."

The 32-year-old O'Donnell signed a one-year deal with the Roosters after being granted a release from English side Huddersfield and is pleased to be home.

"It's great to be back. The family is happy and I could be happier to be at the Roosters," he said.

"We've got a good squad here with a good mix of young guys and a bit of experience there too ... it's going to be a good year I think."

South Sydney captain Michael Crocker claimed on Sunday he was not aware of the hype surrounding Williams's return.

"Has there been much hype? I don't know. I haven't been reading too many papers," he said.

"Is he playing?"

Crocker is glad to see Williams back in the NRL and expects him to play off the bench while he's back into the competition.

"He's a phenomenal athlete and it's great to have the best players back in the game," he said.

"I'm sure it will be tough but he's a phenomenal athlete and obviously he's really fit from the boxing training he's been doing."

"It's just going to be a matter of him getting that match fitness."

"I'm sure if he does play he'll come off the bench have an impact role at the start and that will ease him back into it."