Although reports began circulating on Tuesday afternoon that George Williams was nailed on for a move to the Nation’s capital, those reports seem to be premature. With NRL.com reporting that a substantial transfer fee stands between the Raiders and their prized target.
24-year-old Williams is contracted with the Wigan Warriors until the end of the 2021 season, however he has previously expressed his desire to test himself in the NRL. Having told NRL.com in 2018 that “it is something I have always dream to do so I definitely want to give it a go if there is a chance.”
“Wigan would have to agree but if the NRL was an opportunity for me I would love to move to Australia to take that up.”
According to NRL.com’s Dan Walsh, Wigan has slapped a transfer fee in excess of $AU 450,000 on their five-eighths head. However, the article also goes on to say that Canberra is hopeful of decreasing this fee with on-going negotiations.
With Jack Wighton set to assume the number six jersey as a seeming stop-gap solution for season 2019, we have decided to profile the Wigan Academy graduate and see what he could potentially bring to the Raiders side.
In the admittedly low amount of footage I have watched of Williams, some things have become quickly apparent about his game. He primarily operates on the left-side for Wigan, with the ten capped English International renowned for his running game and game management ability.
Williams likes taking the ball to the line and committing the outside defender, however, if they do not bite in on Williams, he has a lethal dummy and left-foot step combination that will leave the opposition defence grasping at air.
He also possesses good pace off the mark for a man of his size and has a deft short kicking game.
Still only young having turned 24 late last year, Williams is vastly experienced for a man of his age. Having racked up an impressive 148 Super League games for Wigan since debuting in 2013 and gaining numerous accolades along the way. Including being awarded the Super League Young Player of the Year award in 2015, as well as helping Wigan to victory in the 2016 Super League Grand Final and the 2017 World Club Challenge.
With his best playing years still ahead of him, Williams could prove to be a great pick up for Canberra if they can negotiate a decreased transfer fee or wait until he is off-contract in 2021.
Williams also poses a lot of solutions to the problems Ricky Stuart currently faces. Namely that Williams would take pressure off Aidan Sezer from having to be the primary ball-player and game manager, as well as providing another attacking threat close to the line through his running and short-kicking game. Much like Blake Austin, who was a brilliant attacking foil for Aidan Sezer prior to his departure to Warrington.
However, unlike Austin, Williams could provide more defensive stability for Canberra out wide, being able to use his larger frame in contact.
While the reports surfacing this week indicating that Williams was signed, sealed and delivered to Canberra, Raiders CEO Don Furner denied those claims when questioned by NRL.com. But if Canberra can snatch Williams and add him to their already impressive stable of English talent, the Wigan five-eighth could prove to be the best of the lot.