Collins calls on Kangaroos grandfather for advice
When Roosters forward Lindsay Collins moved south of the border, he cut his hair but he had no intention of cutting ties with his grandfather – a former two-time World Cup player and Kangaroos tourist.
Lionel Williamson played 11 Tests for Australia from 1968-74 and has been an invaluable source of information for his 22-year-old grandson.
"He's a big inspiration for me," Collins told NRL.com about the winger who was named in the Newtown Jets "Team of the Century" in 2008. The Innisfail-born Williamson also played 10 games for Queensland.
"I still get phone calls from him with some suggestions on what I need to know.
"And it's not so much actually playing but off-field stuff like lifestyle, diet, stretching, leisure time. Doing all those little things right will keep me in the game.
"I value his advice. I know my position is basically run hard, tackle hard but he talks with me about how to handle stuff like the expectation and profile of league players ... like how to get my mind in the right frame and my body too.
"I've got a good support base with him as well as my mum and dad. I'm always ringing them to bounce things off. They are only a phone call away."
Brisbane-born Collins played his junior football with Brothers, then moved over to Norths to play Cyril Connell (under-16s) and Mal Meninga (under-18s) Cups. Then he moved to the Broncos Under-20s team and made the Queensland U20s side in 2015.
The Roosters snapped him up. He and his mullet hairstyle moved south.
"When I was at the Broncos I had it for about a year. Then I signed with the Roosters and came down and I thought 'I can't rock up first day with a mullet'.
"I shaved it off but then I became comfortable with the boys so I grew it back.
"But I was looking at some old photos and saying 'What was I thinking?'. Then it started to get a bit out of control so I cut it off a second time."
But at least he made the shearing a worthwhile occasion, raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation in its annual "World Greatest Shave" promotion.
Collins made his NRL debut in 2017, playing two games, and so far in the 2018 Telstra Premiership he has played five. He is hoping for a sixth in Saturday's round 21 game against the Cowboys at Allianz Stadium.
"I'm loving it here," he said of the Roosters, where he's contracted until the end of 2019.
"One of the main reasons I moved down to Sydney, well two key reasons, was Jared [Waera-Hargreaves]and [Dylan] Napa.
"There is a talented group of forwards but I'm learning heaps of Dylan and Jared and Zane Tetevano. I just nit-pick a bit from all of them and put that into my game."
He could be heading to his first NRL finals campaign.
"When I look at the first [NRL] game I had and where I am now I feel like I've matured a lot as a player," he said.
"I'm getting more confident with this level of football and the way I express myself on the field. I'm not too fussed about trying to make sure I'm in the team at the end of the year.
"I just worry about playing good footy and let that do the talking.
"There's still heaps of room for improvement. I'm young and I've got a lot ahead of me I want to do."
Getting his first NRL try helped. It was against Manly at Lottoland and it came about by shadowing hooker Jake Friend up the middle.
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"I was sort of pushing through the line and there was some space there. I thought he was going to give me a face ball, but he put it on the toe, which was more nerve-racking," Collins said.
"I'm watching the ball trickle towards the try line and I'm thinking 'Don't stuff it up; don't stuff it up; just put it down'. I did that and the ref awarded it and I was pretty happy. It's a great feeling.