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Williams, Sezer great mates but two doesn't go into one

Every week Canberra halfback Sam Williams faces a job interview and the only other person who has applied for the position is a good friend.

No matter who gets the nod to work that weekend, feelings are hurt.

However, the job at hand still needs to be done, that of steering an NRL side around for 80 minutes in pursuit of two competition points.

Williams finds himself again locked in a battle for control of the Canberra Raiders with friend Aidan Sezer, who has sat out the past two games with injury.

The 28-year-old returned from a stint in the English Super League to lock down a regular spot in first grade with his beloved Raiders.

Williams has grabbed the opportunity the last two weeks with both hands, playing his role as the Green Machine got off to their best start to the season since 2005.

However, the long-term success of the side this season will come down in part to their finding a preferred number seven, leaving Williams and Sezer both waiting from the call from coach Ricky Stuart about who's working that weekend.

Raiders v Eels - Round 5

"It just comes down to being professional about how you operate," Williams said of the balancing act.

"I'm good mates with Aidan and over the years I've been mates with all of the halves I have played with, so as much as you want to be playing, it's not their fault or anyone's doing, it's just the way professional sport is.

"It can be tough at times and sometimes you're disappointed, but you've got to be a man about things and be able to take it on the chin if things aren't going well and to be respectful of the other people in the squad as well."

An accurate and well-timed kicking game, a cool head and trying to make the make right decisions based on the game.

These are the hallmarks of Williams' game, and like his teammates, he feels he has room to improve.

"My role's pretty simple in this team. We've got a lot of flamboyant players outside of me who can create something out of nothing," he said.

"So it's not always about me throwing the final pass or being the most flamboyant half, it's just about giving these blokes the opportunities to do what they do.

"I'm quite content with how things are coming along but there's an improvement there for sure."

Williams' battle with Mitch Moses could be telling this weekend, as the Raiders host the equally resurgent Eels.

Off the back of effective go-forward in the middle, Eels stars such as Moses, Clint Gutherson and Blake Ferguson have led from the front.

However, the Raiders' small pack recorded its fastest average ruck speed of the season last weekend in Townsville, taking just 3.2 seconds to play the ball.

Raiders halfback Sam Williams.
Raiders halfback Sam Williams. ©NRL Photos

"It's great playing as a half when you have that momentum," Williams said.

"But I think the way the NRL is these days it's very hard to sustain that momentum for the whole game.

"Often penalties come to the opposition at a time when you do have a roll on, so it's important you make the most of it when we have it."

After starting last season 0-4, the Raiders are in much better shape this season.

Williams has enjoyed seeing the side's ability to grind out less than perfect games and still get the win, adding that they are capable of consistent 80-minute performances.

"We probably did let ourselves down a little bit last year when we did manage to get a bit of momentum and managed to lose games," he said.

"This season it’s a new squad so there's no scars from last year and we're quite excited about how we've won.

"We haven't been pretty or very flamboyant, but we've still managed to win games so there's a lot of improvement in this team."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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