Meet... the 'Wolfbrother'
That'll be a nice change,” says dad Mike Williams, when Big League calls him about John, not David.<br><br>Of course people usually ask of his son, ‘The Wolfman’, while Mike’s eldest offspring John Williams remains the forgotten brother in Townsville.<br><br>But what about the Wolfbrother? <br><br>He’s 19 months older than David and decidedly less hairy, but many believe just as talented, and as capable of making a fairytale run of his own.<br><br>What you get is what you see in regards to The Wolfman, but with John it appears there is much more brewing beneath the surface.<br><br>“Dave’s a little more cavalier as you’ve noticed – he’s always been the more raucous one. I wouldn’t say John [keeps] to himself but Dave was always noisier. I’d be telling Dave to shut up rather than John,” says father Mike about his sons’ different personalities.<br><br>“But I always thought if anybody was going to go through, it would have been John.<br>“John was very determined knowing what he wanted to do and I reckon he could make a similar charge (to Dave).<br><br>“He’s always been very athletic. He was a good cricketer and at one stage there when he was playing SG Ball for Parramatta he had a decision to make whether he was going to play first grade cricket or stick with footy. <br><br>“John’s always been a very good reader of the ball and how the game is going, even from an early age. <br><br>“I remember very clearly a semi-final he played for the Winston Hills Hawks… I dare say it was under-7s. All the parents were barracking on the sidelines and they were all yelling at John to stay close to the play. But John shifted two or three wide and a couple of parents I remember were yelling at him saying, ‘John get back in there, get back in there,’ but John wasn’t having any part of it. He knew which kid was going to get it, and he came off the line and just creamed him, which jolted the ball out.<br><br>“I think he’s a very under-rated winger. He might not be as flashy as some other guys but some of his defence this year has been absolutely astounding.”<br><br>In 2005 John made his debut for the Eels, but stuck behind NSW wingers Eric Grothe and Jarryd Hayne, he looked for a better opportunity at the Roosters two years later.<br><br>John had an unhappy season at Bondi Junction and linked with the Cowboys in ’08; however it’s taken until this year for him to establish himself as a permanent first grade winger.<br><br>As his dad alluded to, the 24-year-old’s defence has been strong, and in attack he’s proven himself as one of the game’s most proficient finishers. <br><br>But although he’s happy, Williams himself accepts he has more work to do.<br><br>“I don’t think I’ve ‘cemented’ it enough yet. Last year I wasn’t really consistent. I was on for a week, off for a week. And this year I didn’t actually start in first grade, so that was a little disappointing. It was purely my fault. I was maybe a bit underdone coming back from a shoulder operation and I just didn’t trial very well,” explains Williams, who still has a year to run on his contract in the far north.<br><br>“But this year is definitely my best year of footy – I think, anyway. I’m happy with where I am at the moment and with the footy I’m playing. <br><br>“This year I’ve managed to play consistent footy which I’ve pretty much failed to do in my previous years and if I can keep doing that for the next few years then I can really say that I’ve made it my spot.”<br><br>Williams was put in an interesting situation last week, when his captain and main provider Johnathan Thurston arrived back in the Cowboys’ camp. Days earlier in Origin III Thurston had accidentally, albeit controversially, kicked The Wolfman in the face, giving him a nice shiner and a damaged cheekbone in the process. <br><br>The incident put John Williams in quite the bind.<br><br>“I was going to have a word to ‘JT’ about that!” Williams laughs. “All the boys were having a joke about it… it actually didn’t look too good, you never know with those kinds of things, he could have got 10 weeks but he didn’t even get one… but obviously it wasn’t intentional. <br><br>“I know JT and they both know each other and it was completely unintentional.<br><br>“For me it was kind of mixed feelings, I guess!”<br><br>His dad is pretty confident John will be putting Thurston before his brother.<br><br>“John wouldn’t give a bugger, he’d be saying: ‘Well, stuff it, that’s David’s problem! Just as long as I keep getting the ball!” quips Mike Williams.<br><br>However, in all seriousness, John and David do share a tight bond.<br><br>As a cub, The Wolfman always looked to his older brother, and now John is taking plenty from his Manly sibling’s meteoric rise to the top.<br><br>“I wouldn’t say we’re role models for each other but we’re pretty honest with each other,” John says.<br><br>“I tell him straight up what I think and I think he takes that on board and does the same with me. It’s a good, honest point of view from the outside in and that definitely helps.<br><br>“He’s a perfect example for young kids. I knew he was at the stage where he was going to give it up and then we had to try and convince him to stick at it. Now he’s reaping the rewards for it.<br><br>“Last year he had the greatest year anyone could ever have to start your NRL career. He played in a grand final-winning team and played for Australia and now Origin. <br><br>“I’d played for three or four years before that and I hadn’t played in a team that was in the top eight! <br><br>“But this year I think at the Cowboys we’ve definitely got the side to be in the top four so it’s quite exciting and it’s a new experience for me with the successful level our team is playing at.”<br><br>Running out in finals football is Williams’ main concern, while stepping out of The Wolfman’s shadow is not.<br><br>“That doesn’t really bother me. I’m not aiming for the limelight or anything. I’m just happy to go out there and do my job and play good footy,” he says.<br><br>“As long as the boys around me are recognising that and knowing I’m busting my arse for them, then that’s the most reward you can get. You want your team-mates and your coaches to be happy with your performances.”<br><br>According to his coach, Williams should have no such worries.<br><br>“He doesn’t have to really live in his brother’s shadow at all,” endorses North Queensland boss Neil Henry.<br><br>“He’s a good first-grader in his own right and he’s got some developing to do. His positional play has been very good in defence and he’s actually come up with some big plays on the other side of the field where he’s chased hard and saved five or six tries this year. He has a knack of being in the right place at the right time. <br><br>“John’s got this ability to get a try. He’s a very good finisher and he has a knack of getting the ball down very close to the corner post, and he’s been able to do it a few times.<br><br>“He’s been our most consistent winger.”