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Williams stars on debut despite early nerves

New Canberra halfback George Williams admitted to a case of nerves on debut for the Raiders, not that you could have guessed watching from the sideline.

Williams showed off his attacking nous, tactical kicking and rugged defence that made him such a prized signature for the Raiders, as Canberra downed the Gold Coast 24-6 at GIO stadium.

"I was a little bit nervous before the game," Williams said.

"It's been a long time coming to play for the Raiders and I signed probably last year so I was really nervous before the game.

"As soon as the whistle goes, I'm fine, it's just the build-up that gets me."

Match Highlights: Raiders v Titans

Despite having just one trial together, Williams' combination with Jack Wighton already looks to be a threat for the Raiders this season.

"It helps when you've got him [Wighton] there and he's world class and I thought our middles tonight were good," Williams said.

"Nams [Dunamis Lui] was good, Papa [Josh Papalii] and Emre [Guler] was really good in the middle so it makes the halves job a little bit easier.

"When he [Wighton] is carving them up like he was with his first two touches of the ball I think it opens a bit of space for me and he's a world-class player so it's just a pleasure to share the field with him."

Ricky Stuart was already sold on Williams' potential impact in the Raiders' system following the off-season and round one just confirmed it.

"I see so much at training that your mates and the fans don't and I'm really excited about George," Stuart said.

"He's a threat, he's got a wonderful kicking game and as you saw tonight, he's a tough defender.

"He's going to make our team better and you don't want to sing their praises too much because it's only been an off-season training, but I've been really excited by what I've seen so far."

Stuart praises George Williams in debut

While Williams' work with the ball has been vaunted leading up to his debut, with two line breaks and five tackles breaks coming against the Titans, it's his work without the ball which also stood out.

Williams made 29 of his 30 attempted tackles on Friday night, with the performance a nod to how he started his career.

"I've always liked defending, my first year in Super League I got chucked in the middle and played hooker so I always say that put me in good stead for my career," Williams said.

"It can be tough in the middle being in there with the big boys, but I don't mind defending and I think I might done a little bit too much tonight

"I was close to 30 [tackles] so I was blowing later on but I enjoyed it."

Emre Guler also impressed scoring his first NRL try as well as racking up 16 hit-ups, four tackle breaks, 140 metres and 19 tackles.

"I still have a few things to work on, combinations and coming on [as a reserve] and changing the momentum of the game," Guler said.

"Guys like Sia [Soliola], Papa [Josh Papalii] and even the mentality of Hodgo how he turns up on game day, I try and take all of those little things they do and mould my game around it."

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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