Sonny Bill Williams ruled out of Roosters-Panthers NRL final

The Sydney Roosters will be without late-season recruit Sonny Bill Williams for Friday night’s opening NRL final against minor premiers Penrith after he was ruled out with a neck injury.

The Roosters said Williams was a scratching from their matchday squad “due to the flare-up of a neck complaint”.

Nat Butcher has been promoted to replace Williams on the Roosters’ interchange bench.

Williams has made four appearances for the Roosters since returning to the club late in their premiership defence.

The New Zealand dual international had last played for the Roosters in 2014, a year after helping the club win the NRL premiership under coach Trent Robinson.

The Roosters face the Panthers in Penrith one week after their embarrassing 60-8 defeat to South Sydney in the final round of the regular season.

Robinson said he was confident his squad would not be haunted by the heavy loss to the Rabbitohs.

“These guys don’t run away from anything, they don’t try to dismiss it without trying to improve,” he said.

“It was a lesson sent our way so we needed to pick it up, take it ,and then the focus has been from Monday about Friday’s game.

“It’s a memory now that we won’t forget but it’s no longer a weight.”

ABC/AAP