Ex-Wakefield Trinity halfback reveals Super League offers and why the competition should be ‘concerned’

ONCE upon a time, Super League trumped the NRL.

Back in the days around the turn of the century, Super League was able to attract world-class stars from Down Under such as Jamie Lyon whilst the Great Britain side of 2001 beat Australia as part of the Kangaroos tour and again in 2004 and 2006 as part of the Tri-Nations.

Since then, however, Australia has seemingly gone from strength to strength with the NRL now in a league of its own.

With a salary cap that dwarfs that of Super League – indeed the NRL cap stands at just under £7 million as opposed to Super League’s £2.1 million – the Australian league can prise the best of the English talent.

The likes of Will Pryce, Kai Pearce-Paul, Dom Young and Bailey Hodgson have all made/all going to make the move to Australia, and, for ex-Super League halfback Sam Williams, it is the idea of testing yourself against the best in the world as well as the lucrative offers around in the NRL that is influencing youngsters to make the move.

“The ever growing salary cap and the professionalism of the NRL is going from strength to strength,” Williams told League Express.

“The NRL is in a really strong position and the opportunities are growing.

“As rugby league players we are in a position to travel the world playing a game we love so I can understand why a young player would want to come over, just like I did when I was younger, and test themselves on the field and see a new country while they do it.

“That being said, it is a concern for the Super League as players like Pryce and Young are genuine entertainers who bring attention to the sport.”

For Williams, his two spells in Super League – first with Catalans Dragons in 2014 and then with Wakefield Trinity in 2017 – were enjoyable, especially with how different the two competitions are.

I really enjoyed my time in the Super League both in France and England and I had some wonderful times,” Williams continued.

“Learning different styles of play and the players ideas that differed across the world to how we do things in Australia allowed me to continue to learn.”

In 2022, Williams revealed, he had ‘some offers’ to make the return to Super League, but the 31-year-old chose to instead become the captain-coach role of the Queanbeyan Kangaroos in the Canberra Raiders Cup.

“I had some offers but due to family circumstances I was unable to come across which was unfortunate, but I’m glad I had the chance previously to play over there.

“I was also in a position to captain and coach closer to home, so the stability of family life and to play and coach has always been a desire of mine.”