While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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Young Kiwi star Sonny Bill Williams says he's confident his injured shoulder will mend in time for rugby league's world club challenge in England in February.
Williams, 19, is sitting out New Zealand's last Tri-Nations match against Great Britain at Hull this weekend as a precaution against aggravating the injury, described as a muscle tear.
Williams was the Bulldogs' representative at an announcement this afternoon that Leeds Metropolitan University would sponsor the match.
He described his injury - which is thought to have occurred during the NRL playoff series - as a minor problem that would not need an operation.
"If I played and got it injured again, it could turn out to be a more serious problem, but it should be alright for the world club challenge," he said.
"I just have to go back and get the right things done to it and get proper rehab and physio."
The world club challenge could feature up to four of the Kiwis touring England - Williams, fellow forward Roy Asotasi and centre Jamaal Lolesi for the Bulldogs, and second rower Ali Lauiti'iti for Leeds.
Williams said the Bulldogs would not take the contest lightly.
"Obviously to be world champions in rugby league would a great honour for the club," he said.
"The boys started training this week. There are 20 spots up for grabs and we'll all be putting our hands up."