Williams becomes a century man
George Williams will be hoping to toast a landmark appearance with derby victory tonight.
The England halfback will make his 100th appearance for Wigan when he runs out at St Helens.
“When I was told I thought, ‘Jeez what a game to mark my 100th’,” said Williams, who made a try-scoring debut in a 60-10 Challenge Cup win against Leigh in 2013.
“It’s come very quick, and I’m proud because it’s a big achievement.
“I always wanted to play for Wigan and to play this many games is massive for me and my family.”
Williams admits tonight’s fixture will test the cliche about form not counting in derbies, following Saints’ shock 45-0 victory against Hull FC on Saturday with new coach Justin Holbrook at the helm.
“They’ve got a new coach and they got a really good win, but we’ll be ready,” said the 22-year-old.
“It’s a derby, people say form goes out the window, it’s about who is the best on the day.”
He is looking forward to rekindling his halfback partnership with fit-against Thomas Leuluai – Wigan haven’t won any of their three league games in the absence of the Kiwi ace.
“Tommy’s a leader and he takes a bit of pressure off me and lets me play my own game a bit,” continued Williams.
“I’m not a natural organiser and I’m still learning, and he’s a great player for us.”
Williams took over the goal-kicking during Saturday’s 24-24 draw against Warrington and had a chance to snatch a dramatic win for his side, only for his sideline effort to drift wide. Josh Woods and Liam Marshall had earlier kicked goals before Williams took the tee.
“Marshy offered to do it, but I’d hit three from three and I was quite confident,” he said. “I struck it quite well but it faded.”
Morgan Escare started the year with the role before Sam Powell took over.
Though Powell is now fit, he has been out with an ankle injury, meaning Williams is expected to continue with the kicking duties.
“I don’t mind it,” said Williams. “I kicked all the way through juniors.
“I haven’t kicked regularly since I was 17 but I’ve been practicing.”
Sixth-placed Wigan are three points and one place ahead of Saints.
And given Shaun Wane’s outfit trail fourth-placed Leeds by just two points, it puts the importance of tonight’s televised clash into sharper context.