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Old man's sacrifice, cross-country plans for George's Green Machine rise

George Williams' old man once quit his job to ensure his son got a fair crack at his rugby league dream, and now he's threatening to drive the Nullarbor if the English half can guide Canberra back to an NRL decider.

Williams will be front and centre of Canberra's mouthwatering sudden-death clash with the Roosters on Friday, the side he supported as a 10-year-old when Ricky Stuart reigned supreme as coach of the Tricolours.

The nippy Raiders No.7's first thoughts of NRL were sewn way back in the early-2000s 17,000km away, when he and dad Peter first combined as a father-son coaching combo in Wigan.

No slouch with the clipboard, Peter landed a role with Wigan Warriors' junior academy as he continued to train George "nearly every single day" when the youngster showed promise as a playmaker.

Soon enough George graduated to that same Wigan Academy as 14-year-old, prompting Peter to move on to avoid any suggestion of nepotism in his son's rise.

Roosters v Raiders - Semi Final

"He coached me as a young lad with my local team and then he took up with the Wigan Warriors with their Academy before I joined it," Williams told

"When I got there though he left. He didn't want anyone carrying on with that 'you're only here because of your dad' type chat.

"You know what people are like, he wanted me to have fair crack at it.

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Happy birthday to the old man. miss ya and hopefully see you soon ❤️

A post shared by GEORGE WILLIAMS (@georgewilliamss) on

"Dad would've coached my from when I was around nine to 14 or so. He was a typically dad, always hard on his own son.

"I trained nearly every single day. Of course I got the shits with it! Any young bloke, when you're 12 or 13 you start thinking you're the man and you can take on your dad. You soon get shut down.

"Of course we had some run-ins but that's life and we both loved it in the end.

"He was big on discipline and commitment from me, the hard work I needed to put in. He always said he was no world beater, so he wasn't going to try and give me tips beyond that.

"He'd rib me pretty hard as a kid but he only wanted the best for me and that played a big part I'd say in me being where I am now."

A decade on, George has landed on his feet and then some in Canberra, playing a telling role in last week's come-from-behind win over Cronulla with two tries and his combination with Jack Wighton proving the difference.

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Tough effort from the boys tonight... Also so good to play with my man @ryansutton. First NRL game together after playing together since being 14 year old kids #day1s

A post shared by GEORGE WILLIAMS (@georgewilliamss) on

Peter has landed on the other side of the country too, signing on as the West Coast Pirates SG Ball coach last year and since taking up a role with Rockingham Sharks as well.

Despite being in the same country on the other side of the world, the Williams' are yet to see each other in person due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the NRL's mid-season shutdown a Raiders-Roosters grand final rematch had been scheduled in Perth, but now Peter is planning to get himself to the October 25 grand final if Canberra are there as well.

"He moved out here about 18 months ago to work over in Perth," said George.

"It's strange, I've not been able to see him since I've been here. It's just one of those things with the quarantines at the border.

"But he said if we make the final he'll find a way to get there. He's threatening to drive across the country if he has to."

For George a start in the NRL has called for more than half his life, reckoning he must've sent Peter broke at one point with the entire wardrobe of "different NRL kits, jerseys and shorts" he owned as a kid.

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A maiden tour of Australia as a 16-year-old was his first glimpse of what was to come, and thankfully wasn't enough to scare him off for good.

"I first came down here on an England Academy tour, Johnny Bateman was our captain," he grins of a 2012 trip Down Under that saw him staying a stone's throw from the Raiders new HQ in Braddon.

"We came over here to play the [Australian] schoolboys, we were up against [Clint] Gutherson, [Mitch] Moses, [Luke] Brooks a few more in there, Adam Elliott too.

"And they absolutely pumped us.

"As young blokes we enjoyed it though, and we actually stayed at the Pavilion just up the road on Northbourne [Avenue] here. We played at GIO Stadium.

"You never thought you'd be living here less than 10 years later, it's just mad how the world works sometimes.

"Every time I drive past the hotel I grin to myself and remember being in there as a 16-17-year-old."

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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