Sonny Bill Williams is keen to link with the Johns brothers in a coaching dream team to turn around the Samoan rugby league side ahead of this year’s World Cup.
Matthew Johns revealed on Fox League his interest in forming a coaching partnership with brother Andrew and Williams in a bid to grow the international game ahead of its showpiece.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Williams confirmed to close friends that he is very interested in helping Samoan rugby league in a coaching capacity.
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The Herald revealed sources close to Williams confirmed he had discussed the idea with Matthew and Andrew Johns in the belief Samoa could be a new international powerhouse like Tonga, which beat Australia in 2019.
Johns revealed the trio would not even seek payment for their services.
“We would do it for nothing,” Johns told Fox League.
“Quite seriously, and Joey is the same, you wouldn’t take a cent. Sonny wouldn’t.
“It would be a bit of three-way coaching. I don’t know how it would work, but in my opinion Samoa should be emulating what Tonga are doing.
“There should be a goal that within a couple of years Samoa should be beating Australia, like Tonga have been doing. I want to be respectful because they do have a coach, but if something happens then Joey and I are available.”
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The star trio of coaches would help attract NRL players of Samoan heritage to commit to Toa Samoa following in the footsteps of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita who defected to Tonga before the 2017 World Cup.
Panthers stars Spencer Leniu, Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o, Moses Leota, Tyrone May and Charlie Staines, who qualifies through his grandfather are names from just one club that could play for Samoa.
Other potential Samoan stars from the NRL ranks include Josh Papalii’i, Asofa-Solomona, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Dylan Brown, Junior Paulo, Iosia Soliola, Dunamis Lui, Martin Taupau, Josh Aloiai, Jaydn Su’a, Joey and Luciano Leilua, David Nofoaluma, Anthony Milford and Josh McGuire.
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The mooted Samoan coaching dream team has received support from International Rugby League chairman Troy Grant.
“It is very exciting,” Grant told NRL.com.
“To have an Immortal in Andrew Johns, the recognised skillset and football brains of Matthew Johns, and someone with Sonny Bill’s reputation in Samoa is a wonderful trifecta.
“I watched Matthew and Andrew when they were in the lower grades at the Knights right through to their peak so I have seen them first hand, and Sonny Bill Williams is an internationally renowned athlete, as well.
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“The SBW brand would bring enormous benefits to the international game in addition to the benefits of Samoa.”
Grant acknowledged that Parish was the current Samoa coach, which needs to be respected, but believes the involvement of Williams and the Johns brothers would be a massive coup for Samoa and the international game heading into a World Cup.
“I thought Matthew was very respectful towards the current coach and I think it will certainly be exciting a lot of people in Samoan rugby league, that’s for sure,” Grant said.
“Any additional involvement in international rugby league of the calibre of those three would obviously be welcomed, not just by the nation but for the whole game.”
Originally published as SBW keen to awaken league’s sleeping giant in coaching dream team with Johns brothers