I was the one who gave T-Rex his nickname but at the time Tony
Williams was more puppy dog than a ferocious, man-eating dinosaur.
Hasler copped a lot of flak for signing the big unit, who could make
the QE II look like a speedboat when he turned to chase kicks put in
behind Manly's defensive line.
Kept on the wing or in the centres and Williams would have been lucky to have played more than two or three years in the NRL.
But Hasler wasn't about to give up on him.
was confident he could mould this lump of clay into granite and set
Williams a challenging fitness program designed to increase his stamina,
playing minutes and rugby league nous.
Hasler also knew Williams' days as a back were over and if he was to make it a move to the 'pigs' was in order.
to his credit knuckled down to the task under Manly's relentless head
trainer Don Singe, catching public transport from his home in the
south-west of Sydney all the way to the northern beaches to train
because he'd blown his licence following a driving offence.
When Hasler re-introduced Tony Williams to the NRL as a backrower, he was a different beast.
Suddenly it was if the big fella had taken a look in the mirror and realised the damage he could inflict.
Williams was one of the Sea Eagles' best as they charged to the 2011 premiership.
finished the year as a Test player with the Kangaroos and was to be one
of the first players picked in Ricky Stuart's NSW Origin squad for this
But that Origin dream now lies in tatters thanks to what I consider a very tough grading by the NRL's match review committee.
They have deemed Williams' tackle on little Sharks hooker Isaac De Gois worthy of a seven-match suspension.
What tackle were they (and David Gallop and John Grant who were at the game) watching?
Sure, it didn't look pretty.
But seven weeks?
De Gois got up and went on to play a major role in the Sharks' stirring victory.
seen other players left concussed and unable to play on in recent weeks
due to high hits but the perpetrators have either escaped scrutiny or
been given a light tap on the wrist.
There was no malice in
Williams' tackle; it was simply a case of a big man taking on a much
smaller man and losing his bearings for a split second.
Manly were expecting some sort of penalty but nothing in the region of two months.
the bad news is the club's gun legal representative Geoff Bellew is no
longer available to lead judiciary cases so the chances of taking on the
NRL and winning were slim.
In the end they reluctantly accepted the seven games but the punishment doesn't fit the crime.
I returned to some sort of form with my tips last week so let's see if we can go even better in round four.I like the Panthers, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Dragons (yes, you read right), Cowboys, Storm, Bulldogs and Tigers.
Adios for another week.