Raiders halves to carry Campo's legacy
Amid a battle with young gun Mitch Cornish for Canberra's No.7 jumper, returning Raider Sam Williams believes the example set by former captain Terry Campese will inspire the new breed to carry his legacy forward.
With Raiders coach Ricky Stuart remaining coy about who will make up the club's halves partnership come their Round 1 clash against the Sharks, Williams said Campese's passion will inspire himself, Cornish, Josh McCrone and Blake Austin as they continue their in-house battle for the two starting spots.
Can't get to Auckland? Catch every game LIVE. Subscribe to NRL Digital Pass now.
"I think the biggest thing that myself and Mitch would have noticed, and I'm sure others would've spoken to Blake about, is the competitive nature that 'Campo' had. He played with his heart on his sleeve and loved the club," Williams told NRL.com.
"Playing with [Campese] you never ever wanted to let him down. He was your leader and he was always busting his arse to work hard for the team.
"The biggest thing we can take out of Campo's legacy is that we work hard and try and be as successful as he was every day."
While Williams, in his 46 NRL games, only partnered Campese in the halves once and play with him a further three times on top of that, the 23-year-old will draw from Campese's lasting impression to help revive his own career.
After leaving the Raiders at the end of 2013 to play for St George Illawarra, Williams ended his season in France at English Super League outfit the Catalans Dragons after securing an early release.
Quick to admit he was blessed to be offered a reprieve in the nation's capital, the Cooma Colts junior's return has ensured Stuart's first team selection of 2015 will be a difficult one.
Adding he's a better player than when he first departed the Raiders, Williams credited two notable English Test five-eighths for helping him improve his game.
"I certainly learnt a lot off Gareth Widdop [at the Dragons] over the pre-season last year. He'd come from Melbourne and he was a really good communicator and a strong leader," Williams said.
"Then when I went over to France there was Leon Pryce, and to learn off players like that you're bound to take things and put them into your own game.
"I'd like to think I'm still developing and going to two different clubs and learning off some very high quality internationals – it's always going to benefit you in the long run."
Now feeling settled back at home, Williams is ready to prove his worth.
After spending plenty of time in NSW Cup during his first stint at the Raiders, Williams is keen to return to the form that led to his representative debut in the City v Country clash in 2013.
"You can sit there and worry about the players that are playing ahead of you but really it's up to you to play better and if you get the opportunity to make sure that you prove to everybody else that you can play at the top level," Williams said.
"Everything that is in my control I'm going to work hard for over the next couple of years so I can hopefully play a lot of first grade.
"The last 12 months were a bit of a whirlwind but to be given the opportunity to come back here, I'm very lucky."