Raiders rescue Jason Williams

Jason Williams spent time in prison last year for assaulting a teammate and the New Zealander's rugby league career looked over.

But the Canberra Raiders have come to his rescue, signing the 120kg prop this week on a two-year deal.

Williams, 24, was removed from the players list by the Cronulla Sharks last year after only six first grade games. But the delisting was because he had been charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Jeremy Smith in a Cronulla nightclub.

The charge was eventually withdrawn but not before the 24-year-old had spent time in custody awaiting his court appearance.

His league career in tatters, Williams started training as a boxer, winning two of his three amateur heavyweight fights.

But he never gave up hope for a resumption in league and the Raiders have taken the gamble on him, after doing research on his background.

"I've played rugby league since I was nine. When I saw the first game on television this season, it made me realise how much I wanted to play again," Williams said.

"I just want a new start and I'm happy the Raiders can give me that."

"All I want to do is support my family and make them happy. Canberra looks like the best place for us. It's quiet and laid-back."

Williams has settled into Canberra with his partner Temara Pereira and their three-month old daughter Mikayla Storm. Their son Blayze is in New Zealand visiting grandparents.

Williams will play in premier league grade to start with, but if he plays well an elevation to the first grade side, struggling to maintain a base of fully fit forwards, is likely.

Coach Matt Elliott said the club had done an extensive search on Williams' background and he was confident there would be no repercussions from his chequered past.

"`We have thoroughly checked Jason's background," Elliott told the League Correspondent.