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Storm enforcer eyes 200th match
After starting his first-grade career with North Sydney over 12 years ago, Williams has forged a successful career as a bench specialist - he has made more appearances off the bench (142) than any other player in the game?s history.
Williams - who later this year is set to break former teammate Marcus Bai?s record for the most number of games played for the Storm - admits he is comfortable with the tag of ?super sub? after struggling with the role early on in his career.
?Being in the starting side can be an ego thing but the fact that I come off the bench is fine with me,? Williams said.
?I think it?s a little bit different achieving 200 games off the bench but in saying that, I get a fair bit of time on the field and probably play as much as most forwards in today?s game.
?I guess a few years ago the fact that I wasn?t starting and I was coming off the bench all the time did bother me, because you always want to start. I felt it was important to have a jersey with either 11 or 12 on my back, as opposed to 14 or 15.
?I possibly left Norths because of that reason, the fact that I had three State of Origin players in front of me left me really wanting to be in a starting side. Then when I came to Melbourne I started in the club?s first three matches before getting suspended, that opened the door for Richard Swain and he never looked back as the starting hooker.
?But now I accept my role within the team and if that?s coming off the bench then so be it,? Williams added.
?I?m more concerned with the team?s performance than my individual ego.?
The 30-year-old veteran is widely regarded as one of the game?s hardest hitters, regularly adding bite to the Storm?s forward pack in both attack and defence.
?I like the physical side of the game whereas some other people like the skills associated with the game,? Williams explained.
?I think a team needs some like me, someone that can be an aggressor and that?s my role within our team and I like that because I?m confident with it.?
But his reputation as one the most feared men in rugby league has not always helped public perception off the field, something he readily accepts but is disappointed by.
?It would be nice to be seen by everyone as a nice guy but I can?t be worried about what other people think, I know what type of person I am on and off the field,? said Williams, who claimed the Storm?s 2003 Michael Moore Award for outstanding service to the club.
?I can?t do much if people think I?m an aggressor off the field too, I wish they didn?t think that, but there?s nothing I can do about it.
?I am a different person off the field to what I am on and I guess only the people close to me know my true qualities.
?I take it upon myself to look after the younger guys at the club and if I can share something with them that I probably didn?t learn until later in my career, that gives me enjoyment.?
This week Melbourne will be out to deny Souths their first-ever victory in Melbourne but underestimating the Rabbitoh?s at Olympic Park would be foolish according to Williams.
?We?ve just got to go back to basic footy this week, as Souths showed us last year when they touched us up by more than 20 points, they can beat top sides so we won?t be taking them lightly.?
The Storm will finalise preparations with a final training session on Friday night, where centre Ben MacDougall will need to prove that he has overcome a hamstring injury ahead of Saturday night?s match. For further information contact James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]