English halves can cut it in NRL: Williams

Matt Encarnacion
George Williams of the Raiders (left) is looking to impress like fellow Englishman Gareth Widdop

Canberra halfback George Williams believes the career of countryman Gareth Widdop is proof English halves can conquer the NRL.

Williams will continue his anticipated rookie campaign in Australia when the competition emerges from its coronavirus-enforced suspension next week.

Williams impressed in the opening fortnight of the season prior to its lockdown, lifting the confidence of the England international.

"It was something that I loved, something I've looked forward to for a long time since I signed," Williams said on Wednesday.

"I was pretty nervous going into the first two games, but I'm a little bit more confident now I've got a few games under my belt.

"And I've been with the team a lot longer, so yeah, exciting times."

While plenty of English forwards have flourished down under, Williams scoffed at suggestions their backs have struggled to adapt to the Australian game.

Widdop, who returned to the Super League over the summer, played almost 200 games across 10 seasons with Melbourne and St George Illawarra.

Asked why he thought English forwards thrived more than backs in Australia, Williams said: "I'm not too sure. I can't put my finger on that.

"That's probably your opinion more than anyone else's.

"Gareth Widdop was young when he came over as a young boy, but he did great.

"He's an Englishman, so hopefully I can do something similar."

The 25-year-old Williams insisted he was enjoying life under the tutelage of Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

The club legend is regarded as one of the toughest critics of playmakers in the game due to his vast experienced at club, state and international level in the No.7.

"It's funny you say that, quite a few people told me that before I came to Canberra but he's been fantastic with me," Williams said.

"Obviously if he thinks I've done something bad he tells me that's how I've done it.

"(But) he's been great. He's full on and he's right behind me in every situation, what play he wants me to run.

"I'm enjoying it."