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Sonny Bill likes Belmore
Sonny Bill Williams has declared he would like to remain at Canterbury but would not rule out moving to a rival NRL club when his contract with the Bulldogs is up at the end of this season.
Williams started 2005 where he left off last year with a starring role in the Bulldogs' 39-32 loss to Leeds in the World Club Challenge which reinforced his status as Canterbury's top priority and the NRL's most sought after signature.
And the 19-year-old second rower was fully aware of speculation surrounding his future.
"It's already started. At this stage, I'll just leave it to my manager, I just want to play footy," he said.
"I wouldn't be the player I am without Canterbury, coming through the grades and the training scheme there."
"My main priority is to stay at the Dogs but obviously I can't be stupid, I've got to look after my family too."
Williams turned the game around tonight with a couple of crunching shoulder charges which shook Elland Road and one which rattled Leeds winger Marcus Bai, sparking a Canterbury comeback from 38-12 down early in the second half.
Canterbury coach Steve Folkes said the "gruesome" shoulder charges sounded like "concrete hitting bone", but was more impressed by the teenaged Kiwi international's attitude than his power and talent.
"More importantly, on top of that raw talent, he's a terrific kid with a great attitude and that'll get him a long way," Folkes said.
"We gave him some time off after the tour but I found out he was down training with our Jersey Flegg side. So he snuck in before Christmas and I didn't even know."
That attitude includes a pair of feet firmly planted on the ground, proven in his simple explanation for training with the under 20s Flegg side after returning from international duty for New Zealand in the Tri Nations.
"One of my mates came over from New Zealand and he was training with the Jersey Flegg team at the time and I didn't want to sit around and do nothing so I thought I'd go out and chuck the ball around with the others," Williams said.
"I've got a lot of friends through the club, not just first grade. I talk to all the boys, all the young Islanders coming through."
"It's good, it keeps you on your feet. I think it's good mixing with all the young boys, it shows you're not a big head and that's what footy's all about."
And he has a similar attitude toward supporters, even though he admits his stunning debut season last year has changed his life and he can rarely walk down the street without getting recognised.
"Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming but it comes with the territory," he said.
"I'm pretty shy I guess. But you always talk to the fans, they support your team, so you give them a bit of time every time you can."