Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has revealed how he managed to get import George Williams playing some of the best rugby of his career as the Raiders continue to move deeper into the season.
Speaking on NRL360 on Monday, Stuart revealed he had met with Williams' dad, Peter, to better understand how to get the best out of his No.7.
“I was always confident that he was going to make the transition from the Super League to the NRL,” Stuart said.
“There were a lot of people talking about how our halves wouldn’t work because we have two runners. I was very happy to have two runners but I was also very confident that George could be a player that could play on the ruck and organise our style of game.
“I got great confidence out of talking to George's father over a couple of beers at the start of the season. I told him my plans for George and said it would probably happen half way through the season and he said that’s the style George likes to play.”
Peter is a former juniors coach with Wigan Warriors, with Stuart relying on his knowledge of both George and the game to help his push for the premiership.
“His father is a coach. He was a coach of Wigan and he’s a coach in Perth now, he’s got a really good footy brain and I really enjoyed talking to him,” Stuart said.
“Once I told him my plans for George, it was great to see his confidence in what my thoughts were because I don’t think there’s anyone who knows your game better than your father, especially when you’ve got a father who’s really passionate about the game itself.
“It was nice to have a chat and a few beers with him.”
Williams has flourished in recent weeks, pairing with star Raider Jack Wighton in the heart of the Canberra squad, with Stuart adamant the Englishman will only get better.
“I changed a little bit of George’s style half way through the year which was always going to be the case because I felt as though it was going to be something that was more comfortable for our team and George... and that fact has proven correct,” Stuart said.
“He’s been a wonderful asset and he still has so much improvement in his game. Once he gets another season under his belt with Jack Wighton he’s going to go from strength to strength.”
NRL360 host Ben Ikin lauded Stuart's coaching style, commending the 12 month turnaround of Hudson Young under Stuart's post.
“One man I just want to focus on is a young man who’s had a controversial past, Hudson Young, who Ricky stuck by overtly and saw the future in him, saw the man inside the player and clearly had a lot of time for him,” Ikin said.
“Against the Dragons back in Round 18, seriously he had spiders on him, he was untouchable and I thought ‘where did this come from?’ It’s been building and building.
“I think beyond what the team is doing, the sign of a good coach is that he improves individuals and what he’s done with Hudson Young is a testament to the coach of the Raiders.”
Young has become one of the Raiders most improved players in 2020 after being suspended twice in 2019 for eye gouging.
This season, the 22-year-old has been instrumental under Stuart and came up big in the Raiders' semi-final win over Sydney.