Sonny Bill Williams has had to endure an unusual training schedule while locked in mandatory hotel quarantine to prepare for his shock return to the NRL.
Since landing in Sydney from Manchester on July 30, the 35-year-old has been getting game-ready from a penthouse suite in Pitt Street.
He’s been isolating in the three-bedroom two-storey Meriton apartment with his model wife Alana Raffie and their four children, aged between six months and six years.
The New Zealand dual-code international has been putting in the training hours ahead of return to the Sydney Roosters after Toronto pulled out of the English Super League competition.
Sonny Bill Williams has returned to Australian ahead of his shock return to the NRL (pictured: Williams with wife Alana Raffie
He’s been isolating in the three-bedroom two-storey Meriton apartment with his model wife Alana Raffie and their four children, aged between six months and six years
Sonny Bill Williams has been training at his makeshift outdoor gym in the penthouse suite in Pitt Street
The rugby league, rugby union and boxing star, who converted to Islam in 2008, starts his day at the crack of dawn for his morning prayer (Fajar), which he does five times a day.
After his morning prayer he goes down stairs to make his kids breakfast and himself a cup of coffee or tea with honey.
The second-rower then makes his way out on to the balcony for a weights session.
Williams has a day on, day off training regime. During his ‘hard days’ he does what he can with the makeshift outdoor gym.
His ‘hard session’ involves one to two hours of strength focused exercises.
He’s doing what he can to get ready for his first match at the end of August in round 16 or 17 of the shortened 20-round competition, but admits he has a way to go.
‘It’s got quite a bit quicker. Honestly, the standard of the game would be close to a finals game from when I last played and I’m not getting any younger. I’m 35. I’m going to have my work cut out for me in that sense,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sonny Bill Williams has been stuck in a penthouse where he’s been preparing for his return to the NRL (pictured with his family)
He’s doing what he can to get ready for his first match at the end of August in round 16 or 17 of the shortened 20-round competition, but admits he has a way to go
He’s been isolating in the three-bedroom two-storey Meriton apartment with his wife and their four children, aged between six months and six years
‘I might be ready that week [against the Raiders], but the way the boys are playing there might not be a space for me. I’m content with that. I’m going in to help in any way I can. I’m not over-expecting or under-expecting. Going in with an open mind and a hard work ethic.’
Sonny Bill William’s quarantine schedule:
5am: Wake up
5.15am: Prayer (Fajr)
6am: Prepare breakfast for children
7am: Gym session for 1-2 hours
9am: Catch-up with wife over a coffee or cup of tea with honey
9.30am: Kids concert. Singing and dancing with kids
10.30am: Watch Roosters video
12.30pm: Lunch. Wholesome food. Nothing processed. All meat must be halal as part of Islamic faith
1pm: Put kids to sleep for afternoon nap
1.30pm: Afternoon training session. Wrestling, fitness and rehab
3.30pm: Spend afternoon with the kids playing games
4.30pm: Yoga and rehab
7.30pm: Kids go to sleep
8pm: Watch rugby league games or video on the Roosters
10pm: Bed time
Williams has also been undergoing training sessions via Zoom video links while trapped inside the apartment with four high-energy youngsters.
While the family experienced lockdown in the UK, this is more difficult as they have no backyard to escape to.
The family are set to finish their 14-day mandatory lockdown at the end of the week.
‘That’s the beauty of the iPad sometimes, bro. Me and my wife held off for a long time getting them iPads, but we got them a few days before we came back. Long trip with four kids. We had to keep them occupied. It’s uncharted waters what we’re doing at the moment with the iPads. Once we get out we can get them back into a normal routine.’
Williams and Raffie have been using music and dancing to try to tire the kids out.
Following a kids dance party the couple will prepare a healthy lunch with the fresh groceries delivered to the door each day before the kids have their afternoon nap.
It’s then back to training for the high-profile sports star, which involves wrestling a headless padded mannequin and some stretches to help with a knee injury
At 3pm he goes back upstairs for his afternoon prayer and then spends the next few hours playing with his kids before doing more rehab.
His day ends with a video the Roosters have sent him.
The clock is ticking for Williams’ hotly anticipated comeback.
The arrival of Williams is well timed with the Roosters in the midst of a season flat spot while dealing with an injury crisis.
Six players from last year’s grand final line-up are sidelined, while calf injuries to Josh Morris and Jared Waerea-Hargraves added to the woes.
The NRL had to order a legal exemption for the un-contracted player to join the competition, which has divided some fans.
After leaving the All Blacks in 2019, the two-time World Cup winner was snapped up for the 2020 season on a lucrative deal to play rugby league for the Toronto Wolfpack in the English Super League.
The second-rower was paid $10million for two years but after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the season, the Canadian team was forced to pull out of the competition.
Williams led the Roosters to a premiership in 2013 and in made the 2014 preliminary final in his most recent game with the team.
The tired-eyed dual-code international is pictured with two of his young children after setting off from Manchester
Pictured: Sonny Bill Williams arrives at Sydney Airport in Sydney on Thursday, July 30
William’s model wife Alana Raffie is pictured pointing to the camera after the long flight