Williams: Stake My Claim

St George Illawarra Dragons new recruit Sam Williams is excited to step into the halfback role against the New Zealand Warriors at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday.

The NSW Country Origin representative is poised to make his team debut having been selected in lieu of fellow halfback Michael Witt who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained last round.

The 22-year-old is keen to show what he can do as well as link-up with five-eighth Gareth Widdop on the field.

“I hope we play well this week and come out with a win,” said Williams.

“Naturally, it was disappointing to be told I’d be missing out on a position in the halves for Round 1, but that’s footy and that’s just the way it is.

“I’m not the first bloke to ever play reserve grade; I just need to go back there and play well and have a good attitude.

“I can bring a bit of enthusiasm to the Cutters team and hopefully this weekend, with such a new line-up, that excitement and zest for the game will be out there on the field again.

“I certainly knew that one good Cutters game would not get me back into first grade so I was prepared to play well for them for a while.

“This game is all about opportunity and one has presented itself to me; I’m just going to go out there and play my best this weekend and get the job done.

“Pressure is always expected in the NRL, as are expectations; having this opportunity to play one game won’t change that so I just want to go out there and play well.

“Gareth Widdop is an exceptional player; he proved a fair few people at the club right and proved why they got him here at the Dragons.

“He led the team well and offered quite a lot in attack; 44 points is a great result, it’s exciting to play with him.

“There aren’t many easy games in NRL these days and going over to New Zealand will prove to be a tough game; Eden Park will be full and there will be a really good atmosphere for the Warriors.

“I am excited for the challenge and hopefully stake my claim to play halfback for the next few weeks.

“I’m keen to test myself against Shaun Johnson; over the past 18 months he has proved how good of a footballer he is.

“Johnson has great footwork; he is one player we really have to watch and try to control, if we can control him that means it’s one step closer to controlling the game.”