George Williams is arguably one of the best halfbacks in the world, appearing for the Wigan Warriors 184 times, winning two Super League titles (2016,2018), a World Club Challenge (2017) and playing for England/Great Britain on 11 occasions. However, how will Williams do in the NRL for new club the Canberra Raiders?
First of all, on paper he could not have picked a better NRL club to sign with. Being an Englishman making the move to the NRL, the Raiders are the perfect fit due to them already having number of British players in their side. With the likes of Josh Hodgson, John Bateman, Elliot Whitehead and Ryan Sutton already at Canberra, it has undoubtedly made the move over to Australia a lot easier.
In recent times however, English forwards have generally come to the NRL and flourished, with the same unfortunately not being the case for backs.
For example we have seen the likes of Sam Tomkins, Joe Burgess and former Man of Steel Zac Hardaker all make the move to the NRL and severely under-perform compared to their time in the Super League. Players such as Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall are currently in the NRL but have so far been unable to make their mark to this point. So the question is, will Williams fall to the wayside in the NRL like these players have?
Another point of concern is the fact that both he and halves partner Jack Wighton are both ball running halves, something that in the past generally does not work well. It is crucial that in the off-season Wighton and Williams click and know their roles out on the field, with Williams’ signing undoubtedly meaning that at least one of them will have to alter their playing style for the club to be successful in 2020.
Despite this, Williams is an English International and a multiple Super League premiership winning halfback for good reason and should be able to eventually find his feet in the NRL. Don’t be surprised if he has a shaky start, as he will be the halfback for last season’s runners up and will certainly need time to adjust to the new league, however should flourish by the end of the 2020 NRL season.