Williams’ loss blow to Raiders’ hopes

A crestfallen Sam Williams says he is frustrated at missing up to six weeks with a pec injury but insists his sidelining is not a death knell for Canberra’s NRL finals chances.

The Raiders halfback will miss five to six weeks after exacerbating an existing problem during Friday’s 36-22 win over Newcastle.

The loss of Williams, who has been central to the side’s success this year, could not come at a worse time for the Raiders, who are one win outside the top eight.

With eight rounds to play, Williams is scheduled to return a fortnight out from the finals and said he was not seeking an early comeback.

While he has been outshone by halves partner Blake Austin this year, Williams’ importance to the side is demonstrated by the fact they have lost five of six matches without him.

“It probably couldn’t come at a worse time: the next few weeks are going to be crucial for us and our season and where we finish after 26 rounds,” Williams said.

“It’s very frustrating but all I can do is get into my rehab and try to get it right and try to get back as soon as possible.”

Sunday’s clash with ninth-placed Cronulla is key for both sides, who could each jump into the top eight with two points.

Coach Ricky Stuart has several options to replace Williams, with Mitch Cornish the most likely, but the No.7 said Josh McCrone and Jack Wighton were capable of filling his shoes.

“We’re a little bit blessed in that we’ve got a few options there,” Williams said.

“Mitchy’s come up and done a good job when he’s been there. Joshy McCrone has played some footy there, Jack Wighton has played some footy there.

“We’ve got a lot of options so I’m not sure what Sticky (Stuart) is going to do.”

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