Shaun Wane says NRL praise for George Williams was ‘over the top’

Canberra Raiders' George Williams gets by Melbourne Storm's Cameron Munster on Sunday in Melbourne. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty ImagesCanberra Raiders' George Williams gets by Melbourne Storm's Cameron Munster on Sunday in Melbourne. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Canberra Raiders' George Williams gets by Melbourne Storm's Cameron Munster on Sunday in Melbourne. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images | 2020 Getty Images
ENGLAND head coach Shaun Wane believes the Australian reaction to George Williams’s fine performance for Canberra Raiders against Melbourne Storm was “over the top” and insists Super League players do not need the NRL to improve.

Talented half-back Williams, 25, is the latest England player to switch to Australia having left Wigan Warriors at the end of last season.

He was excellent as Canberra came out of lockdown to win at Melbourne at the weekend, piercing breaks, wonderful passing and even a big defensive hit leaving New South Wales State of Origin coach and former Kangaroos No6 Brad Fittler rating his display “10 out of 10.”

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Asked if he watched the game, Wane – who previously had Williams under his wing at Wigan – said: “Yes, twice.

“I thought the Aussies went over the top; they were raving about him. I’ve seen him do those things hundreds of times.

“He does it in Super League, it doesn’t seem to be recognised.

“I thought he did some good things but he can have more involvements.

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“If George had delivered that for me at Wigan, I’d have been into him. I’m sure other Super League coaches may have been the same.

“He did well, no question. I’m a big George Williams fan. But he needs to improve.”

Williams is one of four current England internationals playing for Canberra alone alongside former Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson and ex-Bradford Bulls back-rows John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead.

Asked if more players like Williams heading to the NRL can help England thrive, Wane replied: “No, I don’t think that.

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England head coach Shaun Wane . Picture: Anthony Devlin/PAEngland head coach Shaun Wane . Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA
England head coach Shaun Wane . Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA | PA Wire

“I know we’ve got a lot of quality coaches over here who are striving to make the competition in Super League better and better.

“We’ve got a great competition, so I don’t think they need to go over there to improve massively.

“Who’s to say Elliott Whitehead if he stayed here, he wouldn’t have been the same?

“Elliott is a great player and the NRL is a great competition, no question. But I’ve coached in many intense Super League games as well, so wherever they are, we just have to make it the best product ever.”

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