General Player playoff SBW vs Laitiiti

Which would you have in your dream team, SBW or Lauitiiti?

  • Ali Lauitiiti

  • Sonny Bill Williams


Results are only viewable after voting.

wizards rage

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 18, 2016
4,817
Tauranga
Round 3 and we have an enticing recommendation from Warrior 55. Two dynamic back row players with X factor who could turn a game in Sonny Bill Williams vs Ali Lauitiiti. Both had a controversial departure from the NRL but we are looking at their on field performance.

Ali Lauitiiti (1998/15) - Known for his incredible ball-handling skills, he led the Warriors to the 2002 grand final including winning the 2002 Dally M second rower of the year. Left the NRL to early but still went on to win 4 super league titles. 428 first class games with an outstanding 124 tries.

Sonny Bill Williams (2004/...) - burst onto the scene being a key player in the Bulldogs 2004 NRL title. After switching to union he returned and immediately helped the Roosters to a 2013 title. 130 first class league games including 47 tries.

So come on armchair selectors... who would you select for your dream team and why?
 
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playdaball

Heritage Member
Apr 23, 2012
2,499
SBW
 

wizards rage

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 18, 2016
4,817
Tauranga
While I voted for SBW as a proven winner I’m going to play the devils advocate:

While SBW was a superior physical athlete, Lauitiiti was a physical freak in what he could do. He probably scored more spectacular tries that even SBW couldn’t have scored. If he stayed in the NRL Lauitiiti would have built a long legacy and been a franchise player you could have build a team around... what could have been!

Then there was SBW spell at Toronto 🤮
 

Pozza

1st Grade Fringe
May 19, 2012
1,718
SBW could play both an attacking and defensive role, each with a devastating effect. A little doubtful if Ali could have replicated his 2002 form, season after season. A lot easier to do it in the ESL
 

Sup42

Warriors 1st Grader
May 7, 2012
22,684
Have to go William's on the basis of defence.

Williams himself said Ali was the player he has modelled himself on.

I would like to have seen What Ali would have done with better coaching in an Aussie club with good defensive coaching.
 

matiunz

All Out!
Contributor
Jul 15, 2013
8,667
Sydney
Think Ali’s career was cut short so it’s hard to judge fully, Ali was a freak but SBW had longevity.
Great league player but I didn’t/don’t like SBWs mercenary approach to sport and still don’t agree with how he left the Bulldogs- while great in league felt he was over rated in Union and got further than he should have on reputation and marketability
 

warriors55

1st Grade Fringe
Sep 12, 2017
1,667
Thanks for doing this poll wizards rage. Enticing prospect!

It is a really difficult decision. SBW is the better athlete and proved himself over a long period of time. However Ali at his peak was untouchable.

If I am basing this on both players at their peak I am picking Ali (just). If it's about career as a whole I would definitely choose SBW.

As this is for a dream team I am basing this on peak form so I chose Lauitiiti (just)
 

Panther

1st Grade Fringe
Aug 13, 2016
531
Something that has always interested me given SBW’s mercenary profile was the reports about how he would impact on team culture in a positive way. Can’t say this is coming from the Kiwis 😂 but the Chiefs and Roosters were very open about the influence he had off the field.
 

snake77

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 12, 2013
9,907
Auckland
SBW for mine. More for how he came one the scene as a superstar and seemed to stay at a high level. Then managed to come back and put the finishing touches on the Roosters.

He had a long career just not all of it was in the NRL. But cause of his profile he was always in the media.

Lauitiiti's career is a bit deceptive in terms of longevity as he came on the scene and we heard about his potential. Then he hit the ground running under Anderson's coaching. His NRL career was brief but he had a long career in Super League 2004 - 2015. A large percentage of that was with Leeds and he picked up a fair amount of silverware.
 

Defence

Warriors 1st Grader
May 9, 2012
6,242
Something that has always interested me given SBW’s mercenary profile was the reports about how he would impact on team culture in a positive way. Can’t say this is coming from the Kiwis 😂 but the Chiefs and Roosters were very open about the influence he had off the field.

Even when he first made the kiwis he had brought himself some sort of compression/ recovery suit and he would wear it after the games in the locker room- no one had seen anything like it back then.
I heard from someone on the staff that he was the most professional player he had ever seen.
He’s not everyone’s cup of tea but his record speaks for itself.
 

Boats n Hoes

1st Grade Fringe
May 14, 2012
1,778
Loved Ali, had all the skills in the world but SBW's all round game pips him here.

Always wished Ali would drop the shoulder and smash the bejesus out of someone on D, but he was bit of a jersey scragger really. Sonny Bill however probably had the best shoulder in the game (when it was legal)
 
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fizurg

1st Grade Fringe
May 18, 2012
1,777
hamilton
SBW is pretty much the ultimate player. 6’4” 110kg, powerful enough to have massive impact at second row and fast enough to play on the wing for the All Blacks, skilled enough to play in the halves yet can hit hard enough to change games with his defense alone. You could put him in any position on the field and at the end of game he would likely have still been one of your best players, hes Also pretty enough to be able to add a noticeable increase to the clubs profits.
When you add those physical gifts with a professional attitude that’s considered above and beyond what’s expected for a superstar player then you can’t help but have one of the greatest players of all time.

Two things stand out for me about him, the first is the amount of grief sports fans gave him. You can’t cop that much from fans unless you are incredibly gifted. The closest I’ve seen is how people treat Shaun Johnson. I honestly think guys don’t want to see other guys who can play sport like they dream they could and also be good looking enough to steal their wives in a heart beat.

The second is how the clubs he has played for talk about him. Every club he played for talk about him like he was the best thing that ever happened to their club and they all wanted him back. Even the Bulldogs (who have the right to feel aggrieved) invite him to club functions and are happy to have him in the clubs history.
 

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