Nine targets Sonny Bill Williams, Allana Ferguson in search for star rugby TV talent

Allana Ferguson is set to become one of Nine's female rugby panellists as the Australian broadcaster locks in big names and fresh perspectives in a new approach to covering the sport.

The former Jillaroo isn't the only cross-code star in Nine's sights, with discussions still ongoing with Sonny Bill Williams' camp.

Williams had surgery on a neck injury picked up playing for the Roosters late last year and will not make a call regarding his future in league or boxing until a meeting with his neurosurgeon in the next month.

But he remains a target for Nine, the owner of this masthead, regardless of whether he plays or fights on this year.

Ferguson's television career has been on the rise since she called time on her playing career in 2018 and became part of Nine's rugby league broadcast team.

She made her name with the Jillaroos before being scouted by the Australian Rugby Sevens coaching staff in 2013. She had planned to push for a spot in the squad that won the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medal before injury cut her dream short.

The team tasked with putting together the commentary crew is keen to have a significant female presence on the panels and has identified Ferguson as one of the women for the job. She would have to juggle both rugby and rugby league commitments if she took the role.

While Ferguson and Williams are yet to be locked in by Nine, the Sydney Morning Herald has learnt some familiar faces have signed on the dotted line.