Zorba in the Manly Daily - www.manlydaily.com.au 2 August 2008 WHEN Manly's greatest player Bob Fulton left the Sea Eagles for the Roosters and Bondi Junction at the end of the 1976 season the peninsula went into mourning how could the club survive without the star of the club's then only three premiership titles? Two years later Manly won its most courageous title ever to prove once more that no one player is greater than a club or the game. Rugby league will survive nicely without Sonny Bill Williams and Mark Gasnier, just as Penrith have done without their defector to French rugby, Craig Gower. Has Gower been missed at the foot of the mountains this season? I'd say not at all. For a young man, Sonny Bill Williams is an amazing talent on the football field but a nightmare off it. He is disqualified from driving because of several drink-driving charges and is hardly the Adonis his physique suggests he could be. Williams debuted in the NRL in 2004 and at the time of his runner had averaged just 14 games a season, only 73 in total for the Bulldogs. Compare that to Manly's whiz fullback Brett Stewart who passed the 100 games mark recently and had just one game to his name when Sonny Bill kicked off his first grade career. In short, Sonny Bill is a plasticine man who finds it hard to compete in the daily grind of the NRL. And he has been disloyal to his club and his teammates. He took the easy way out last Saturday, and left other people behind to not only take the flak but to explain his decision. His girlfriend, who has been taking French lessons for the past six months, will join him in France as soon as she gets her visa. She has shown much more loyalty than her boyfriend after remaining with him after his well publicised sex with another woman in the toilet of an eastern suburbs hotel. And now to the often-seen-on-the-peninsula Mark Gasnier from the St George-Illawarra Dragons. Gasnier is from a famous rugby league family and is a NSW and Australian Test representative. On his day he is a marvellous player. But like Sonny Bill, he hardly plays in club football he is out of today's local derby against the Sharks and has had a virtually permanent spot in the Dragons' rehabilitation ward for the last few seasons. He is a player who should never fail to meet his private medical cover. Once again Gasnier has an off-field record that is far from good although to be fair he has seemingly tried to clean up his image. But he is captain of the mighty Dragons and the highest paid player in the great red and whites. Players in recent years took pay cuts to keep him at the club. It is a tough time for rugby league but the harsh reality is that in 12 months' time no one will care. Players move on and new ones come along. Manly fans know that better than most. They were devastated when Ben Kennedy hung up his boots in 2006. Glenn Stewart after four years of learning his trade stepped into the role and while he is no BK yet, he will do us just fine. And many tipped Manly to tumble down the premiership table when Michael Monaghan left for the English Super League at the end of last season. Once more a fine player in Matt Ballin stepped into the number nine jersey and hasn't looked back. Just the same as in 1977 when Ian Martin and Alan Thompson stepped into Bozo's big boots at Manly tough local kids who were up to the task. Rugby league has survived since 1908 and it will continue to do so.