Normality brings Bulldogs back to reality
In hindsight, watching Tony Williams play halfback was like witnessing an elephant getting behind the steering wheel – it's rather entertaining until it gets close to the finish line.
The big fella did enough in a handful of games in the No.7 jersey to convince us that he's got just as many ball skills as he does muscles, but with the business end of the season fast approaching, the business men probably need to return.
Which means the fun part is over, and the serious games are about to begin. And Williams goes back to what he does best.
"I've enjoyed it, I just filled in and had to do my job for the team. I've appreciate what the boys do. I know how the halves play. I got more respect for them. They do a lot more directing throughout the whole game," he said on Tuesday.
NSW five-eighth Josh Reynolds comes back from a four-week stint on the sidelines for a shoulder charge that went wrong in Origin III, and Williams can't wait to see the bloke they call 'Grub' back on the field against Penrith on Friday night.
"Thank god. I enjoyed myself playing there but we got Josh back," he continued. "He does a big job there and a bit more familiar than I am in that position. I’m looking forward to going back to where I did my best work and help the team out."
Reynolds and halves partner Trent Hodkinson haven't appeared together in club colours since Round 15 – that's almost six week of the rugby league calendar without their heroic Origin duo.
Coincidentally, the Bulldogs have split the four games they've played in that time frame, overcoming adversity to post wins against Manly and Melbourne, before falling to the Tigers and Cowboys over the past fortnight.
But with Reynolds champing at the bit, and NSW team-mate Josh Morris almost recovered from that shoulder problem as well, normality is beginning to return at Belmore.
Fullback Sam Perrett also returned from a long layoff with a knee injury last weekend, while young bull David Klemmer has been named to make his comeback from an ankle issue on Friday night.
Forward Josh Jackson said the team had missed Reynolds' energy and thrust over the past fortnight.
"It brings a bit of normality, the structures go back to where they were before. Credit to ‘T-Rex’ though, he done really well in that position. But it would be good, hopefully we can get back on track and string a few wins together before the semis," he said.
"[Josh's] energy I think is probably the biggest thing he brings. He's always there to lift us when we know we're a bit down on energy. And I think the attack he brings as well, he's always pushing up in support or creating something. I think we probably missed that the last couple of weeks so that'll be handy for us as well."