Rugby League


Williams not about change his style

NSW strike forward Tony Williams has no intention of curbing his aggressive tackling style after three judiciary charges in his last seven matches.

Williams, who underwent a private fitness session at Centrebet Stadium after going into camp with the Blues squad at Penrith yesterday, has not played since Manly's round-three loss to Cronulla on March 19 due to a seven-match ban for a grade four dangerous throw.

The 23-year-old Sea Eagles giant was also suspended for one match during last year's Four Nations tournament after a high tackle on England back-rower Ben Westwood and was charged over a high tackle on Brisbane winger Jharal Yow Yeh during the finals last year.

With the loading from his previous two offences increasing the ban for the grade four lifting tackle on Sharks hooker Isaac De Gois from five matches to seven, Williams may effectively be rubbed out of the NRL if he continues to have judiciary problems.

However, the Test star said he was unconcerned and intended to continue playing the same way that had prompted NSW coach Ricky Stuart to select him for his Origin debut despite not having played for nine weeks.

''I don't really know how it all works, I just play footy and I don't really worry about that stuff,'' he said.


''I just try to play hard and it is unfortunate and a bit unlucky how things sometimes end up.

''It is not something I mean to do, but footy is a tough game and I just try to play as hard as I can. I reckon they should change all that stuff with loading and carry-over points but that is up to them. I definitely won't be holding back in State of Origin.''

Williams does not believe his tackle on De Gois warranted such a heavy suspension but he said the fear of receiving a 10-match ban and missing the entire Origin series if he unsuccessfully challenged the grading prompted him to plead guilty.

As it was, he feared he had blown his chances of selection for Origin I and is grateful for the belief Stuart has shown in him.

''I set my goal to play every representative game and to play my best for my country, my state and my club so it killed me not to be able to play in the Anzac Test,'' Williams said.

''I was looking forward to that as well but Origin was something big I wanted to accomplish this year. I wasn't prepared to risk that so I took the early plea but I still had some fears that I wasn't going to make it.

''I personally don't think, and I know a few people who agree with me, that it wasn't worth the time I had out but that is all over now and I am looking to the future. I am stoked and very honoured to be a part of this and I am going to do my best for the team. There has been a lot of faith shown in me, and I am very happy to be here.''

Despite his time out, Williams said he had trained under the guidance of Manly fitness guru Don Singe and would have no problems coping with the pace and intensity of Origin.

''It was like pre-season training and I reckon I am physically ready to play,'' he said.