‘We’ll beat anyone, anywhere’
George Williams is adamant the Warriors’ pop-gun attack is primed to explode
ENGLAND HALF GEORGE Williams is aiming to end his grand final misery – and prove Wigan’s doubters wrong.
The Warriors’ misfiring attack has come in for brutal criticism for most of the season. Legend Garry Schofield fired both barrels at the glamour side, accusing them of “boring everybody senseless” during the Super Eights phase of the competition.
Yet they stand only 80 minutes away from a fourth successive appearance at Old Trafford.
And Williams – one of their brightest stars – is hoping to not only progress but make it third time lucky, having lost in both his grand final appearances in the last two seasons.
“We’ve been bagged quite a bit this year, people saying that we’ve not been playing well,” Williams tells
RLW. “It’s hard not to read it when it’s out there and you’re being tagged into [remarks on social media], but we can’t . . . all we can focus on is our job. And we’re still there.
“I’ve played and lost in two grand finals, and I couldn’t imagine that feeling again. I’m really hungry to win one.”
Williams, last season’s Young Player of the Year, accepts there’s been merit to the criticism.
“We’ve not been happy with how we’ve played at times,” the 21-yearold admits. “But we’ve found ways to win. We’re in a confident mood – we believe we’ll beat anyone, anywhere.”
Wigan’s confidence has been boosted by Super League victories against all their play-offs rivals – St Helens, Hull FC and Warrington – within the last five weeks.
“To have that going into the semis is massive,” adds Williams, who’s sporting a blond-rinse as a punishment for being late for training.
And if he needed any extra incentive, he knows this weekend – and the grand final, if they get that far – provides the last chance to impress new England coach Wayne Bennett before he picks his Four Nations squad.
Williams broke into the Test side last year, figuring in two of the three matches against New Zealand, and has since developed as a player.
He admits he’d be disappointed to miss out, especially if his place goes to an Australian who qualifies for the Poms through ancestry. Newcastle’s Trent Hodkinson is among those who’ve been linked with a call-up.
Williams has echoed remarks by international team-mates including George Burgess, Liam Farrell, Zak Hardaker – and former Test captains Paul Sculthorpe and Kevin Sinfield – opposing calling up “plastic Poms”.
“I’m not a fan of that at all,” he says. “Regardless of who it is or what position, I don’t think it’s fair.
“I don’t think you’d see an Englishman playing for Australia, so I don’t see why we should let an Aussie play for England.
“I’d like to get picked – it’d be a massive honour – and if I didn’t I’d feel it was a backwards step. But that’s not up to me, all I can do is try and play the best I can.”
Wigan’s path to Old Trafford is blocked by Hull FC, who have already won one trophy this year – the Challenge Cup final. Minor premiers Warrington host St Helens in the other semi-final. Most bookmakers have installed Wigan as favourites after a 48-24 demolition of Catalans in their last match.
“They didn’t show up to play, so it took any sting out of the game, and we lost interest as well,” Kiwi centre Anthony Gelling admits. “But in the semis, everyone will show up.
“We’re clicking at the right time. In the last few weeks we’ve been good, and it’s two more games to go.
“These last three years has been hard with no trophies, so I definitely want to win something.”
St Helens have lost only one of their last 12 matches, while Warrington are hoping to get former Knights captain Kurt Gidley back.
The two semi-final winners will meet in the Super League grand final at Old Trafford on October 8.
“I’ve played and lost in two grand finals, and I couldn’t imagine that feeling again”
POINT TO PROVE Williams is confident glamour club Wigan will aim up when it really counts.