Williams ready to monster Maroons
Tony Williams declared himself ready to be part of one of NSW’s biggest packs in State of Origin history as the Blues attempt to crush Queensland’s six-year dominance in next week’s series decider.
Named in an extended NSW squad despite having just over 100 minutes of football under his belt in the last 13 weeks, Williams appears certain to take his place alongside fellow behemoths Tim Grant and James Tamou at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week.
It would give the Blues three players in excess of 192cm and 112kg in their pack – leaving little doubt that coach Ricky Stuart believes the best way around the Maroons may well be through them.
“I think this is the biggest pack we’ve had in a while so there’s a lot of confidence coming out of (the camp),” Williams said on Monday.
“Hopefully we’ll give it to the big boys that they’ve got at Queensland.”
The Maroons aren’t short on size either, with David Shillington, Petero Civoniceva and Dave Taylor – expected to earn a selection reprieve thanks to Ashley Harrison’s fractured toe – also from the land of the giants.
Williams proved match fitness would not be a concern as he punched out 80 minutes in a man of the match performance against Sydney Roosters on Sunday, but the back injury which has sidelined him since Origin I remains a concern.
“The back pulled up pretty good from yesterday, at times it locks up but it’s pretty good,” Williams said.
Asked when he would be right to train, Williams said:
“Maybe not the first couple of sessions, I still have to see the physio but I’m willing to train and get ready and be fit for the game.
“The first Origin I hadn’t played for nine weeks and I got one big game yesterday and I got a lot of confidence out of that.”
Williams’ Manly teammate Glenn Stewart was nowhere near as confident of his chances, which is hardly surprising given he was expected to be sidelined for 3-4 weeks when he strained his medial ligament just seven days ago.
“Obviously I’m very keen to be playing and I thank Ricky for the opportunity considering he didn’t have to (pick me) with the injury,” said Stewart, adding that a decision on his availability would likely be made following a fitness test on Thursday or Friday.
“(The knee is) ok, it came out of the brace today so just getting a bit of blood flow back in there.”
Stewart admitted the significance of the occasion – with the Blues the closest they had been in a long time to ending Queensland’s dominance – was an extra spur to make it onto Suncorp Stadium next week.© AAP 2013