Tony Williams has illustrated he remains a vital part of Canterbury’s NRL premiership tilt after starring in the Bulldogs’ 34-16 win over St George Illawarra.
A controversial Will Hopoate try, in which Williams was ruled to have accidentally knocked on in the lead-up, overshadowed the Dogs win, but the controversial former representative forward was dominant throughout.
In his first match since a stint in reserve grade the power forward affectionately known at ‘T-Rex’ ran for 200m in a man-of-the-match effort which Dogs coach Des Hasler was delighted in.
“It was outstanding, on the back of making 35 tackles and 15 or 16 hitups,” Hasler said.
“Personally for Tony I know he has been pretty disappointed with everything that has happened.
“But he took it on the chin and has worked hard on his game and I thought he bounced back really well.
“He produced a champion game, he needs to maintain that now.”
Williams brought equal parts power and finesse to the Bulldogs line-up as they snapped a two-game losing streak.
“Today was a relief and Des was really happy for me,” Williams said.
“It was probably the best game I’ve ever played for the club.
“I am just happy with the win and that I get to play with my brothers again.”
Williams is off contact with the Bulldogs at season’s end and his future in the NRL is up in the air. But his effort on Monday at ANZ Stadium showed he can still be a first grade force.
“He was really good for us,” Canterbury skipper James Graham said.
“It has probably been a frustrating month for him being left out of the team and with the injury.
“But the way he provided that spark off the bench was really good.
“I thought he did really well tonight.”
In other matches from the NRL’s 14th round, Brisbane beat Canberra 26-18 at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
Wests Tigers defeated South Sydney 30-14 at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The Warriors thumped Newcastle 50-14 at Hunter Stadium on Saturday, Parramatta beat Gold Coast 22-12 in Darwin and Sydney Roosters were hammered 46-0 by Melbourne at Allianz Stadium.