'Wigan Warriors' George Williams will take NRL by storm' - The 18th Man column part I
In the first part of our 18th Man column, Wigan fans give their thoughts on Adrian Lam's new deal and George Williams' NRL move...
How do you think George Williams will go in the NRL?
Sean Lawless: I am very intrigued to see how George gets on at Canberra, he has all the attributes to be a great player for them but then there is that constant doubt of English backs failing to perform in the NRL. I really hope he does well, but if he doesn’t, Wigan have first option to get him back if it doesn’t go to plan. I do think the English contingent over at Canberra already will ensure that he settles in well and I am sure he will be a hit.
Robert Kenyon: I think he will succeed because he will fit in – he already knows Bateman and Sutton and they’ll make it easier for him, not only that, his tackling ability will set him apart from other halves in the NRL, his versatility allows him to play in the halves and at hooker. I’m just a bit gutted he’s going but it will improve him as a player that’s for sure, I think his game and style will suit the NRL but I’m not sure how he will fit into the Canberra team as Jack Wighton is their left sided half and plays State of Origin. George Williams is a real talent and I’m not sure we appreciate how good he actually is, not long ago I had the debate with a few fans on the internet about Williams being the best stand-off in Super League and he is, I’m just gutted that he’s going but it comes as no surprise.
Jon Lyon: I have no doubt George will take the NRL by storm. He has the best short kicking game in the world for me, and the likes of Nick Cotric and Jordan Rapana will benefit greatly from his precision grubber kicks and bombs.
After a spell at hooker in his early career he’s also one of the best defensive stand-offs in the game, and will stand up to the early onslaught he is bound to face as forwards in the NRL test him out. He has a good turn of speed and a good step, very much the full package and I wish him all the best. George has been a pleasure to watch, and I hope to see him back one day
Darren Wrudd: I truly hope that George smashes it next year and creates a real niche for his style of play. It seems that British forwards do better than backs and the wealth of talent that the NRL has to choose from means that they can certainly select from a rich pool, but Canberra obviously see a talent in George which they hope to capitalise on and if he steps up to the challenge, it could be the making of the lad.
David Bailey: I am hoping George can flourish in the NRL. On his day he is one of the finest half backs in the game. Sadly since signing his marquee contract those days have generally been Monday to Wednesday... I’m kidding but making it as a half back in the NRL is the biggest ask, there’s no hiding place. My worry is he plays off the cuff too much, so Ricky Stuart will need a real general partnering him for it to work. That being said I think Stuart knows a thing or two about being a decent halfback.
Jeanette Lusher: George understandably wants to test himself in the NRL and I have every confidence in him becoming a shining light like Bateman and Sutton have at Canberra. George has all the attributes needed and can read a game so well. He is strong in defence and can tackle above his weight.
He has excellent and accurate kicking skills and has deft hands to put in a short or lengthy pass. He has pace to take on the line and he is well disciplined. George is strong mentally and can rapidly move on from mistakes in play.
Are you happy Adrian Lam has extended his deal?
Sean Lawless: I am delighted that Lam has extended his stay at Wigan because he has had a rough time both on and off the field in 2019 and he has now started to get the team performing how he would like them to perform. Another season, with less off-field drama and Jackson Hastings in the side, what a great thought for 2020.
Robert Kenyon: It’s surprising it’s a one year deal, to me it doesn’t exactly say the club have complete confidence in him otherwise it would have been a three year deal. For me, if we hadn’t won the last five games I think he’d have been gone by the end of the season but with or recent upturn the club have given him more of a chance which is honourable of them but for me Lam is still up for debate. If things change and his ideas are implemented and work then a longer deal would be better as the players will fully get behind a coach who the club has faith in. I’ve noticed too that things have turned around recently but that ties in with the return of Matty Peet who I’m guessing has focused on our defence.
Jon Lyon: I’m delighted Lammy has been given a chance to carry on his work now the effects of his coaching are showing on the pitch. With an injury list as long as his arm, the Edwards fiasco, having to deal with the off field dramas and trying to implement new ideas into a team set in their ways after years living in Wane’s world, the fact we can realistically talk about finishing 3rd in the table is almost miraculous.
Ideally I would have liked to see an extra year on that deal to give him some security next year, but that may be Adrian’s own decision with his family being so far away.
Darren Wrudd: There was only one choice for me and no doubt the decision had been made some time ago, with only the contract details to be agreed upon. Lam was on a hiding to nothing with 12 months to work the squad and he has shown some real determination to drill his charges in his mode of play. That showed a great strength of character and without a doubt he has belief in his methods. The quality of our squad is beginning to shine under his management and I could not be any happier that he has chosen to stay on.
David Bailey: I am glad he’s extended. The team are gelling, there was a real tenacity in defence last time out, and both flanks seem capable of breaking from deep. As Tony Smith said, Wigan have pace to burn. Looking around I don’t think there’s anyone else better suited for the job and at least now Lam can plan ahead, and even players now know what the situation is next season which was obviously crucial in securing Hastings.
Jeanette Lusher: I am ecstatic that Adrian Lam is staying on! He has endured and overcome so much this season and has maintained dignity and integrity throughout. We have seen everything but the kitchen sink being thrown at him and he has coped admirably. The injury list has been dreadful both prior and during games yet the ensuing dilemmas have all been overcome most effectively. Adrian has debuted youngsters and reinforced senior players confidence and self belief. Adrian came as an interim coach yet he has given his absolute utmost for Wigan! He has earned the right to be coach, why on earth would Wigan want to look anywhere else?