Sydney Roosters recruit Sonny Bill Williams says he will have to switch from holiday mode to prepare for his NRL comeback.
Williams hasn't played in the NRL since 2014 but has been lured back to the Roosters with his Canadian club club Toronto pulling out of the Super League due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Turning 35 next week, Williams said he had booked flights to go on a European family holiday before the Roosters came calling with their short-term deal.
"Everyone knows it's no secret that I'm pretty close with the lads at the Roosters, Nick (chairman Nick Politis) and Trent (coach Trent Robinson) and I stay in contact with them now and then," Williams told the Nine Network.
"Trent just gave me a call and inquired about what was happening over here and Nick hit me up and asked if I had a couple of months in me to come back.
"To be honest, I hadn't trained for a bit and I'd been in holiday mode - we actually booked flights for a little family European holiday."
Williams, who switched to rugby union and played with the All Blacks in his time away from the NRL, says he's motivated by the challenge of testing himself in the competition again.
"It's the challenge that I just get so excited about - it lights that fire inside of you."
Williams and his family will spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival in Australia.
He is not expected to play before round 15.
It's set to be a busy back end of the year for Williams, who is booked to fight AFL great Barry Hall at the conclusion of the NRL season.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a deal for the fight has been agreed between Williams' manager Khoder Nasser and Hall's representative, Danny Green.
The bout is set to take place in Sydney, with Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium mooted as a likely venue.
It's understood the blockbuster bout could land both fighters more than $2 million if it does go ahead.
Hall - who was involved in a controversial draw with NRL legend Paul Gallen in 2019 - says he rates his chances against Williams, despite admitting that the cross-code superstar has a "lot of tools" at his disposal.
Hall confident of knocking out SBW
“I’ve got nothing but respect for him. But, in saying that, I think I’ve got the tools to knock him over,” Hall told the Herald.
“It’s a great fight, a lot of people will be interested in it. Hopefully, people have seen with me and Gal (Paul Gallen) that I can move around a little bit and it will be a competitive fight.
“Hopefully it comes off, it will be great. I would be honoured to do it.
“We watched his last fight, he’s good for someone who hasn’t boxed that much.
“He’s obviously a great talent and great athlete. He’s got hitting power and he’s fit, that’s half the battle for a heavyweight.
“He’s got a lot of tools. In saying that, I watched the fight and thought ‘Yep, OK, I’ve got what it takes.
“We’ll soon see.”
While Williams has more experience in the ring - seven professional bouts compared to Hall's one - the 35-year-old hasn't fought since his unanimous decision win over Chancey Welliver in Sydney in 2015.
The Kiwi star did compete in a charity fight against Bachelorette winner Stu Laundy in 2018, however, it was not a sanctioned contest.
with Yahoo Sports staff