Canberra halfback Sam Williams knows he’ll be targeted by Brisbane’s big men on Saturday, but he’s ready to unleash his inner mongrel and bite back.
The young playmaker will make his NRL comeback at GIO Stadium after being sidelined for two weeks with a collapsed lung.
Williams said he had no idea his injury was so serious while playing against Gold Coast earlier this month and pushed on unwittingly – only to end up in hospital for two nights.
But after a fortnight of rest and recovery, the 24-year-old is raring to go.
“Last week, there was a chance of playing but we took the conservative approach and had the weekend off just to make sure it was 110 per cent, so this week will be fine,” he said on Friday.
Williams will be wearing some extra padding to help protect his chest, but he is far from concerned about putting his body on the line – even though he’s likely to get plenty of attention from the Broncos.
“I probably get that most weeks anyway, so it’s no different,” he said.
“If you’re going to go out there and think about what’s happened in the past, then you’re probably not going to play well.”
The livewire wants to just “get out there and play aggressive”.
“It’s important that I start aggressive and get the mind thinking aggressive early on and not worrying about anything else other than what we’re doing on the field,” he added.
“If I can rip in the first 10 minutes, then the things that have happened in the past you’ll forget about straight away.”
Williams will reunite with Blake Austin in the halves – a combination that has yielded four wins from five matches.
The Raiders have lost their last two games with Mitch Cornish filling in at No.7, although both were tight battles.
They face another challenge against the second-placed Broncos.
All six State of Origin stars have been named in the side, although a question mark remains next to Matt Scott who reportedly suffered a cork in Wednesday night’s match.
Nonetheless, Williams is expecting a tough contest.
“We saw the depth they’ve got on Monday night against the Knights – they had six players who were out and the players who came in really lifted,” he said.
“We know how good they are … so it’s important we show up with a good attitude and start the game fast.”
* Brisbane have won four of their last six encounters with the Raiders, their most recent in round 13 2014 in Canberra.
* Ricky Stuart has been victorious in just seven of his 20 matches against Wayne Bennett-coached sides, and only once on the last eight occasions.
* Jarrod Croker is just six points away from the magic 1000 in his career. Only David Furner (1218) and Clinton Schifcofske (1052) have had more at the Raiders.