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Sonny Bill Willams welcomed back into the fold at Canterbury Bulldogs

Welcome back: The Bulldogs have invited Sonny Bill Williams to the club’s 80th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Steve Christo Welcome back: The Bulldogs have invited Sonny Bill Williams to the club’s 80th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Steve Christo

Welcome back: The Bulldogs have invited Sonny Bill Williams to the club’s 80th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Steve Christo

Welcome back: The Bulldogs have invited Sonny Bill Williams to the club’s 80th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Steve Christo

Sonny Bill Williams has been welcomed back to the Bulldogs fold for the first time since his infamous walkout as a special guest at the club’s 80th anniversary celebrations.

Williams has been sent an invitation to the gala event on August 1 at Le Montage, at which the “Family Club” will announce its inaugural inductees into its new hall of fame. While Williams isn’t likely to figure for that honour – Steve Mortimer and Terry Lamb are more likely candidates – there is every chance the cross-code star will feature in the team of the decade for the period 2005 to 2014.

The judging panel – comprising Phil Gould, Ian Heads, Barry Nelson, David Middleton and Gary Lester – were told that candidates needed to embody “the spirit and values of the Bulldogs”.

Given SBW deserted the club without a word in 2008, while still under contract, there was spirited debate about whether he qualifies. But the invitation, delivered via the Chiefs Super Rugby team, suggests all is forgiven.

The club is yet to hear back from Williams, although his schedule may allow him to squeeze in the function between his Test rugby commitments. The All Blacks don’t play the weekend of the dinner but will take on the Wallabies in Sydney the following Saturday, which could allow Williams to attend.

The superstar’s presence would generate even more excitement for the high point of Canterbury’s anniversary celebrations. Some of the biggest names in rugby league will be among the 850 guests, but a limited number of tickets will be set aside for members and fans for purchase from the club.

New addition

Congrats to Sam Kasiano, who welcomed his second child into the world during the week. It’s only early days but the unnamed bub – dubbed babyzilla2 – appears a chip off the old block, weighing in at 4.095kg and standing at 59cm tall, well above the averages for newborns.

Ballin under cloud at Manly

Matt Ballin has been told he isn’t wanted at Manly just three months after the club trumpeted his re-signing. The veteran hooker inked a two-year contract extension in April in a move that appeared to ensure he would finish his career as a one-club man.

But Sea Eagles officials have performed a Daly Cherry-Evans-style backflip and are trying to push him out. Ballin is furious and has every right to dig his heels in, but the writing was on the wall the moment the club signed Penrith rake Api Koroisau.

Club officials are likely to deny they are trying to move Ballin on, knowing he is one of Manly’s favourite sons, and that there will be a backlash from fans.

Ballin isn’t the only contracted Sea Eagles staffer set to be shown the door. Coach Geoff Toovey is also on the chopping block, while Feleti Mateo could end up at Catalans next season.

Mateo is also signed until the end of next year, but the decision to offer Cherry-Evans a lifetime contract – as well as the lucrative deals for Nate Myles, Lewis Brown and Darcy Lussick – have put enormous salary cap pressure on the Sea Eagles.

More players could be tapped on the shoulder in coming months.

Forward’s problems

Which former NSW and Australian forward could be forced out of his current club due to salary cap mismanagement?

The popular veteran is contracted for 2016, but could be forced to finish his career in England because of his team’s dire salary cap situation.

Tupou to stay put

Daniel Tupou is poised to remain a Rooster on a new two-year deal. There were fears the tricolours couldn’t afford to keep the sometime NSW winger, but the departures of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and James Maloney have freed up some funds.

“My heart here is at the Roosters and hopefully I can be a one-club man,” Tupou said recently.

There was some interest from other clubs but they weren’t able to find the funds befitting a representative flanker. We’re told Tupou is prepared to take unders to stay and an announcement isn’t far away.

Blake Ferguson, the man set to replace Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback, is also a done deal.

Fantasy clash

Who would win a match between the New Zealand Test team and the Queensland Origin side?

It’s a question we put to the folk at sportsbet苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 as we ponder the outcome of the ultimate fantasy match.

The Maroons have been described as one of the greatest teams ever assembled, while the Kiwis have beaten the Kangaroos in their past three meetings to claim the mantle of world No.1.

The online betting agency installed the Kiwis as $1.80 favourites, while the Cane Toads are $2 outsiders on the assumption of a neutral venue.

The clash would pit Johnathan Thurston against Kieran Foran, Tuivasa-Sheck against Greg Inglis and Shaun Johnston against Cooper Cronk. Unfortunately it won’t happen, but it’s fun to dream.

“The Kiwis knocked off the best Qld and NSW could come up with so we’re tipping they could get the job done against the Maroons,” said Christian Jantzen of sportsbet苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

“Given most of the Australian team plays for the Maroons, it’s practically a Trans-Tasman Test anyway. Forget patriotism! Blues fans would definitely be cheering on the Kiwis in this one.”

Another Eels contract drama

Another day, another contractual drama at Parramatta. We’re hearing that Eels officials came across a FIFTH contract that was drafted for Manly star Kieran Foran. Long-suffering fans are counting their blessings that he agreed to sign more than one of them.

Leaving the nest

The exodus of players from Manly to arch-rivals Parramatta appears set to continue.

James Hasson is likely to join the Eels next season on a second-tier deal. The Irish international is hardly Robinson Crusoe – Kieran Foran will also make the shift west, while Brad Arthur, Will Hopoate, Anthony Watmough, David Gower, Richie Fa’aoso and Darcy Lussick have already done so.

Big kick

Pat Richards can boot a ball like few others, but despite suggestions to the contrary, the Wests Tigers winger never considered putting the skill to use in the NFL.

“Jarryd Hayne has gone over there and done it himself  but I never spoke to anyone about it,” Richards said. However, his second stint in the NRL will be remembered for his revolutionary kick-offs and his long-range penalty goals

“The longest one was the one from halfway against the Dogs,” he said, adding that one of his best dropouts travelled for more than 70 metres against the Gold Coast last year.

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