The 18th Man: Wigan fans react to Warrington leading the chase for George Williams

Wigan Warriors fans give their opinions on the possibility of George Williams joining Warrington, whether Jackson Hastings should play for England, and look ahead to the Hull KR game.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 10:28 am
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:07 am
George Williams could be set to sign for Warrington (Photo: PA Wire)

Warrington are thought to be favourites to sign George Williams How would you feel about that?

Robert Kenyon: I’d be very upset if I’m honest, I’ve tracked Williams in the NRL very closely watching almost every game he’s played over there and he’s been fantastic, plus he’s a Wigan lad.

Warrington have got another one of ours in Josh Charnley who should be back at Wigan along with Jack Hughes. At the end of the season Jackson Hastings is going to the NRL and we will need a halfback, though we have Jai Field and Harry Smith, Williams would only count £75,000 on the cap anyway. Williams has history at the club and I think its time we started bringing a couple of lads back like Williams.

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Darren Wrudd: I am honestly just happy that George is back in Super League.

I would love him to play for Wigan again, but he must look after his family and if the deal that Warrington put together helps to do that, good for him.

He has developed extremely well whilst over in Australia and the experience has no doubt brought him on as a half back, his kicking game for instance can be superb. So it would be a challenge to play against him, but as a neutral when Wire play others, I will enjoy cheering him on with the other old school Wigan lads.

Jon Lyon: From a purely sporting perspective it’s a huge disappointment. George is one of the best halves in the world and the prospect of him teaming up with Harry Smith for the next few years would have been mouthwatering.

I can’t blame George though if Warrington have come up with a stupidly large offer. We all know it can only take one bad injury to end a career so with a child on the way and a family to support, he has the right to make the best decision for himself.

That said I hope he is making the right decision from a playing viewpoint. Warrington have spent years throwing money at players with no Grand Final success. Rumour has it both Widdop and Austin are leaving, Inglis can’t be relied upon and Ratchford, Hill, Cooper and Jason Clark are all over 30 with Lineham and Charnley turning 30 next year. George may well find out it’s never Warringtons year!

It’s also good to see the Wigan squad managed realistically. With income having plummeted over the last 18 months it’s important we’re not being held to ransom or spending money we don’t have. We might have lost George Burgess off the salary cap but we still have the likes of Farrell, Hastings, Field, French and Bateman on the books and the whole squad needs to be budgeted for, not just spending a fortune on one position.

Ste Ford: I’d like us to sign Williams but the main priority has got to be at least a couple of decent props and a good centre

I fear that we may be outbid by Wire which would be very disappointing but would not be the end of the world if we sign some good props and if Field makes a good recovery.

Alex Graham: I'd be disappointed but I can accept it as although Williams would be my first choice signing replace Hastings every player has a limited value.

One of the reasons why Warrington haven't won a Championship since 1955 and in particular more recent times is because they place more investment and emphasis in huge erratic one-off signings than the overall long-term infrastructure of their club, and I suppose I'm glad Wigan aren't stooping to this level.

It was only a couple of years ago when Karl Fitzpatrick hailed Gareth Widdop ''the best Super League signing ever'' and I've no doubt he'll say it again when Williams is announced.

We'll hear the usual cliches from Williams about joining a new club, but I've no doubt Wigan would have been his first choice had they equalled Warrington's offer.

If Williams doesn't want to join Wigan enough to compromise on what will have still been a generous contract offer, maybe it's a blessing in disguise.

If his form warrants if, would you pick Jackson Hastings to play for England in the World Cup?

Robert Kenyon: No, he’s Australian.

Hastings goes back to the NRL at season’s end and we need to be honest with each other instead of pretending. I’d love nothing more than to see Hastings play Origin and for Australia.

England shirts shouldn’t be given to Australians or Kiwis no matter how good they are.

Darren Wrudd: I have always been a stalwart that if the link is too tenuous then I would select a British born and trained player over one which the rules can be ‘used’ to fit him in.

Jackson’s grandmother was British and that would probably be as far as I would stretch, so his form would have to be brilliant.

I am sure that Jackson would give his all for international honours as he did for Great Britain and I would certainly cheer him on if he were running for us, I am

just glad its not a decision I will need to make.

Jon Lyon: If he qualifies and is in form then I’ve no problem with Shaun Wane picking Hastings but personally I wouldn’t.

We have spent so long in the shadows of Australia and more recently also New Zealand in tournaments that when (if) we finally beat them I would prefer it be with a team of English born players. The last thing we need is to finally beat the Aussies only for them to throw it back in our faces claiming we only won because we had half a team of Australian born players.

We have enough home grown talent to challenge for the World Cup so let’s give them the chance to do so. Australia still have some quality players but they are lacking the world class talent of years gone by. Ryan Papenhuyzen, James Tedesco and Cameron Munster are top quality but not the same level as Lockyer, Thurston, Slater, Inglis and Cam Smith. We shouldn’t be scared of them and George Williams, Jake Trueman and Jonny Lomax deserve the opportunity to show they are good enough.

Ste Ford: I’d pick Hastings for sure but there is no way that Waney will select him. It just won’t happen.

Alex Graham: No, because he's Australian. I've come to accept that when it comes to international eligibility rules it really is down to the individual and what they want from watching international Rugby League.

Personally, I get most enjoyment from seeing natives of each country play against one another to determine which country has the best natives at playing Rugby League - which for me is the point of international competition.

I understand the benefits of eligibility rules particularly when trying to strengthen and broaden the sport in strategic areas, but Rugby League developed countries like Australia and England should never have to use parent/grandparent eligibility rules to compete.

I'm glad Shaun Wane is seemingly choosing to select native Englishmen and sticking to what should be the basic principles of international competition.

Wigan are back at home tomorrow - are you going and what are you expecting from the game?

Robert Kenyon: I’ll not be there unfortunately as I’ve not got a season ticket this year, I do have Wigan TV so I’ll have to watch it on there.

I wish I was there as I’ve really missed going to live sport. I’m expecting a reaction from the players due to having home support cheering then on, the players will love it just as much as the fans.

Darren Wrudd: I am not going to be at the Stadium tomorrow as I am not totally convinced of the wisdom of gathering in large groups when so many people seem to have selfish ideas about other’s safety.

In the current situation, many of us are trying to take measures to help stop the spread of Covid 19 whilst there seems a growing number of people who think the rules simply do not apply to them so I will see how things go first.

As for the game, I am expecting a big reaction to the very poor teamwork shown last time out against Catalans. Energy and eagerness is what we need with attention to detail in defence with square hips and shoulders and no arm flinging grabby attempts at tackles. Build a fierce platform for the backs to work from and let Jackson guide the team around the field.

Jon Lyon: I’m gutted to be missing the game due to work.

I’ve waited so long to get back in the stadium and can’t believe I won’t be there.

The embarrassment of the Catalans result will still be eating at the players and with last weeks game called off they should be ready to come out firing.

We have started too slowly in most games this year although we’ve obviously managed our energy levels well in finishing strongly to win the first 7 games.

We can’t keep planning to come from behind though, as the game in France showed.

Huddersfield are an erratic team so I am hoping with three weeks to work on both our defence and attack, and the possible return of Gildart and Marshall that we will have players playing in their own positions and plenty of pace to attack. Home advantage to pay off and Wigan to win 26-12.

Ste Ford: I probably won’t get to the game. If we don’t start well it could turn out bad again. I don’t think that Lam is capable of turning it around so another loss against an in-form Rovers wouldn’t be a great surprise. I’m just hoping that Hastings and Bateman can galvanise the team to something like a bit of form.

Alex Graham: I am heading to the game and I'm mainly looking forward to simply watching Wigan live again.

I'm expecting frustrations as the usual routine of watching Wigan all my life will be disrupted and restricted but I suppose I just have to put up with it and try to put things in perspective. With regards to the game itself., I think there's a lot of pressure on Adrian Lam and even Kris Radlinski going into this fixture.

Despite having such a great start result-wise the performances haven't been impressive.

Add the heavy defeat to Catalans, losing out on George Williams and yet to show any sign of adding/replacing much needed recruits, a loss on Friday could ignite that built-up of frustration from Wigan supporters.

With return of Gildart and Marshall I expect a convincing performance from Wigan with half decent flowing Rugby considering we have a backline of players in their rightful position. Anything less simply won't be good enough.