Stung by recent criticism of his impact and last Friday night’s error-riddled loss to rivals Canterbury, enforcer Tony Williams admits it is now or never for both he and the Sea Eagles as he contemplates what could be his final week in Manly colours.
Despite producing two significant plays in the lead-up to both of Manly’s first-half tries against the Bulldogs, the Test and Origin star hasn’t been pleased with his second-half contributions of late – with the reigning premiers having scored just 10 points in second stanzas in their past four outings.
The Sea Eagles face a sudden-death semi-final against in-form North Queensland this Friday night, with Williams admitting the prospect that this could be his last game before joining Canterbury next season was weighing heavily on his mind.
“Yeah, that’s something I’ve been looking at in the last couple of days,” he told NRL.com today. “It could be my last game. Obviously this weekend, if we lose here we’re gone. I’ve got faith that we can get there but I need to do my thing.”
Williams rejected claims in today’s The Daily Telegraph that he should be used more sparingly by coach Geoff Toovey in order to maximise his impact – pointing to the fact that he played 80 minutes throughout last year’s successful finals campaign – but admitted he needed to find more consistency throughout this week’s clash at Allianz Stadium.
“I know that when I come out this weekend I’ll be better with what I do,” he said. “I copped a little injury last week but I can’t use that as an excuse.
“I guess it has been a little bit frustrating but I’ve just said to myself to get in there and help the boys when I can.
“I’ve got no doubt in my ability.
“I guess I haven’t been meeting my expectations in the second half mainly – I think my first halves have been not too bad – but I know I have to fix my game a bit to help the boys out. It’s been hard the last few weeks to do that with errors but that’s not Geoff, that’s just me trying to get into the game.
“I just need to do what I do and play to the best of my ability to help out the team.”
Manly made a considerable 233 metres more than the Bulldogs last week but were hurt by their 17 errors and 59 per cent completion rate, with Williams telling NRL.com that the senior playing group had already met this week to discuss the situation.
“We had a good sit-down – the senior group has had a talk and there are little things in the game there, little errors and stuff like that. Individually we have to fix that.
“It’s something that we had to talk about because if we lose this we’re out, so it’s a serious time. We know what to do but we’ll look to fix that at training. Making those errors, it’s not really Manly-like.”
On a positive note, Williams said he has pulled up well this week after hyper-extending his knee against the Bulldogs and doesn’t expect to be in any doubt to take his place against North Queensland.
And he was quick to shoot down critics of their premiership credentials, insisting they still had the side to go back-to-back in 2012.
“We don’t care what anyone says,” he fired. “We’re a team, we’re all close and we know we can go all the way. It’s just a matter of taking it onto the field.”