Jon Tuxworth June 28, 2012
Sam Williams, pictured at training on Wednesday, insists he will be staying at the Raiders. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Canberra halfback Sam Williams has refuted reports he is weighing up interest from the St George Illawarra Dragons, insisting he wants to remain at the Raiders "forever".
Williams has been recalled as Raiders halfback to face the Dragons on Monday night and the 21-year-old said he remained confident about his next shot in the NRL, just four weeks after being dumped to NSW Cup.
Williams said he didn't begrudge coach David Furner's decision to experiment and replace him with fullback Josh Dugan in the Raiders halves, claiming it "was probably good for the team to try and get a bit more running in there".
"All first graders at some point in their career get dropped, you can't go back there dropping your head and worry about it too much," Williams said.
"If you go back to [NSW Cup] and you don't want to be there your footy's going to struggle, so that's the main thing I made sure I did – to go there and stay positive."
Williams is contracted to the Raiders until the end of next season, but rumours linked him to the Dragons following his demotion to NSW Cup.
The Dragons are seeking a long-term replacement playmaker for skipper Ben Hornby, who has indicated he will retire after this season should the club find a suitable option.
"To be honest, I hadn't heard anything about it when it came up, those rumours start to come when you're not playing first grade," Williams said.
"I'm not too worried or focused on anything like that, it's just media talk. Next year I'm contracted here and I'm really excited, hopefully I can stay forever."
Williams said his halves partner Josh McCrone had helped reassure him he could learn from his stint in lower grades.
Early in his development, McCrone played a year with Canberra's former Queensland Cup partner Souths Logan and then played NSW Cup with the Windsor Wolves after signing with Penrith.
Williams, who was likely to play for NSW Residents next Wednesday before receiving a Raiders recall, said he was content to serve an apprenticeship.
"Joshy McCrone is a really good example, he spent a period biding his time and went to Penrith looking for an opportunity, and he's come out of it for the better," Williams said.
"In the halves you've seen [Manly halfback] Daly Cherry-Evans and [Souths halfback Adam Reynolds] spend time in reserve grade one year out of [under] 20s, and it did them the world of good.
"It helps you find your game and work on strengths and weakness without that extra pressure."
McCrone backed Williams to learn from the experience.
"When I was in their [young players] situation I just wanted to play first grade, too, but I don't think I was really ready," McCrone said.
"There's not too many stories in the paper about how you're going in reserve grade, you can get away from the pressure and get used to running a team and tackling men.
"Souths Logan gave me an opportunity to run the team and it gave me some confidence."