Winning Wiliame extends Manly stay
He's no longer the luckless bloke who's never had an NRL win; Manly centre Brayden Wiliame is finally enjoying an extended run in first grade with a few straight wins and has agreed to terms with the club to extend his stay through to the end of 2018.
The former Knight and Eels famously started his NRL career with 13 straight losses across two clubs and four years before breaking his duck against the Knights back in Round 8.
While he had to wait another nine rounds for his second, the 23-year-old is now enjoying the feeling of three straight wins.
Playing his preferred centre position, the Fiji international has become an important part of Manly's injury-hit backline, slotting in for injured veteran Steve Matai and notching three tries in his past three games including a double against the Knights on the weekend.
Wiliame is relieved to have his future locked down for another two years, not least because the northern beaches training base allows him to continue commuting from his Central Coast home rather than move to Sydney.
"I've agreed [to terms]. I'll be signing again for another couple of years. So it will be next year and the year after, the end of 2018," Wiliame said.
He admitted it was a big relief to have his playing future sorted.
"It was on the back of my mind at the beginning of the year knowing it was my last year here. It's good to get rewarded for playing some decent footy and hopefully I can just keep improving."
Wiliame is enjoying his developing combination with wing man and good mate Jorge Taufua as well as a surge in confidence – although it wasn't always the case.
"It's been good, my confidence is up. I'm definitely not getting ahead of myself though, I know there's plenty I can work on individually but from where I was at the start of the year to where I am now I know I'm heading in the right direction," he said.
"I can joke about [the 13 losses] now. I'd laugh it off [while it was happening] but deep down it was getting to me a bit but it is what it is. It was just relief after that [Newcastle] game. Happiness and relief."
Although last week Taufua joked Wiliame still had no idea how the team song goes, this week Wiliame admitted there was plenty of truth to it – though if the wins keep coming it won't be the case for long.
"I'm still reading it off the board. When it's away games I've got no clue, I just clap along and keep the beat," Wiliame laughed.
"I'm heading in the right direction and to be playing in my preferred position's helped a lot as well. To play multiple games there, it's been good."