Former Canberra Raider Sam Williams won't rule out an NRL comeback, but he'll prioritise his family before making any decisions about his playing future.
But in a boost to the local league, the 107 NRL game veteran joined the Queanbeyan Kangaroos last weekend, adding to the long list of former NRL players to feature in the Canberra Raiders Cup.
Williams will line up for his second game for the Kangaroos when they take on the Sharks at Freebody Oval on Saturday.
It was a shock to many when Williams left the Canberra Raiders a few weeks ago, deciding to prioritise the club's future.
The 31-year-old played more than 100 games for the Raiders and showed signs that he could still play in the NRL by shining for their NSW Cup side this season.
While Williams was still undecided on his playing future and refused to rule out a return to the NRL, he now has new priorities as a father.
"It's a little more difficult than when I was 20 years of age and you're single, waking up every morning to pack your bags and get on the road. I've got a little eight-month-old baby now and my wife Sarah is very settled here in Canberra," Williams said.
"They are the main factors in what decisions you make so for us to up and leave Canberra, it's gotta be the right fit for not only myself but also for my family. I'm just sort of taking a bit of time out to think about things and work out what direction we want to head."
Williams led the Kangaroos to a 27-18 upset win over the Bushrangers last weekend.
Former Raider and current Bushranger Darby Medlyn has no doubt that Williams can still make it in the NRL.
"One hundred per cent, I think he's a real quality player and I don't think he is too old. I know everyone gives him a bit of stick but he's definitely still good enough to be in an NRL system," Medlyn said.
"Whether he wants to or not I don't know, Roos have been struggling the last few games and that sort of thing but him coming in has made an immediate impact for them."
It wasn't a difficult decision to return to the local league after leaving the Raiders as he still loves playing the game.
Williams has now fully embraced life in the Canberra Raiders Cup and was enjoying the game without the professional aspect of the sport.
"Coming back to play in the local comp was because rugby league is part of my DNA, I was brought up around it and my family loved their footy," Williams said.
"For me a lot of time we get caught up in playing professionally but playing locally just gives you an opportunity to play rugby league and that's just a game where you just go out there and play with your mates."
Williams would have had plenty of clubs to choose from when he returned to the Canberra Raiders Cup but decided on the Kangaroos.
He picked them because of some connections within the club but could not guarantee that he would stick around for the remainder of 2022.
"It's close by which is one thing but I've got some mates within the team and have some connections with some of the board members as well," Williams said.
"It is just a good fit for the time being and I'm really enjoying it so far, there's so many unknowns but it's given me the opportunity to be able to sit back and make decisions without rushing into anything."
Canberra Raiders Cup round 11
Saturday: Queanbeyan Kangaroos v Belconnen United Sharks at Freebody Oval, 3pm; Tuggeranong Bushrangers v Queanbeyan Blues at Greenway Oval, 3pm, Gungahlin Bulls v Goulburn Bulldogs at Gungahlin Enclosed, 3pm, Woden Valley Rams v Yass Magpies at Phillip Oval, 3pm.
Katrina Fanning Shield round nine
Saturday: Woden Valley Rams v Yass Magpies at Phillip Oval, 10.30am, Tuggeranong Bushrangers v Queanbeyan Blues at Greenway Oval, 10.45am, UC Stars v Goulburn Bulldogs at Raiders Belconnen, 12pm, Boomanulla Raiders v South Coast United at Boomanulla Oval, 1pm.
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