Stuart praises NRL debut by Williams

Melissa Woods
George Williams (l) was hailed for his Raiders debut in the 24-6 NRL win over Gold Coast

Ricky Stuart has given George Williams' NRL debut a big thumbs up after he helped steer Canberra to an impressive opening-round win over Gold Coast.

The Raiders' new English halfback looked dangerous nearly every time he touched the ball in their 24-6 win at GIO Stadium on Friday night and was equally as dangerous in defence.

Stuart said he was delighted with the contribution of the 25-year-old, who had a first-class kicking performance, seven tackle breaks, 63 run metres and made 29 tackles in his first NRL match since switching from UK Super League club Wigan.

"I'm really excited by having George," Stuart said.

"He's a threat; he's got a wonderful kicking game and as you saw, he's a tough defender."

Williams has big shoes to fill after replacing Aidan Sezer, who wore the No.7 jersey in the Raiders' surge to the 2019 NRL grand final before signing with Huddersfield.

Stuart was confident he had the right man.

"He's going to make our team better.

"You don't want to sign their praises too much because it's only been an off-season of training but I've been really impressed by what I've seen of George so far."

Stuart also had praise for the debut of ex-Melbourne centre Curtis Scott, who had a troubled off season and is facing police charges.

"Curtis' defence and some of his power runs were second to none," he said.

"Both debutantes really contributed to that performance."

Meanwhile, Stuart said he hoped that Joseph Tapine's previous judiciary record wouldn't count against him after the lock was put on report for a shoulder charge late in the match.

"I've got to see it again but from only seeing it once and on the screen he got run into," Stuart said of Tapine.

"Sutto (Ryan Sutton), two weeks ago in the trial, he dropped his shoulder and deserved to get the week but with Taps it was a collision and forced by the player going into Taps.

"I just hope our match review committee don't look at Joe's record and say 'typical' and he gets a fair go."