Williams keen for fresh start

George Williams says he will be driven by Warrington’s disappointing 2021 play-offs exit and his own “average” performances next year.

The England halfback joined the Wolves from Canberra Raiders midway through the campaign, but could not inspire them to the Grand Final as they crashed out at home to Hull KR.

Williams said: “The end was more than disappointing – it was a big shock.

“Fair play to Hull KR, but if we’d gone back out straight after the game, we’d probably have played better than we managed.

“Personally, I was trying to find my feet in the team and I wasn’t overly pleased with what I did.

“I was average – I’m looking forward to getting back into pre-season and giving it a good crack.

“When I started at Wigan, I was in the Grand Final four times in my first five years and thought that was normal.

“But I’ve not been in one since 2018 and that’s been a reality check.

“Now I’m really driven to get back there and win trophies again with Warrington.”

Williams is also relishing the prospect of teaming up with new Wolves coach Daryl Powell ahead of the start of pre-season training this week.

He said: “I’ve met him three times now for a chat and to bounce ideas around.

“He’s been telling me his philosophies, and he did really well with his teams at Castleford.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him, and one thing about him is he’s straight – he doesn’t beat around the bush and that’s how you get the best out of your players.

“He always plays a good brand of rugby; the detail he brings with his attack is probably his biggest point, and I’m looking forward to learning from him and getting better.”

Williams was speaking after becoming the first Rugby League player to be the subject of online digital collectable non-fungible tokens (NFTs), an initiative launched by the Wolves.

Limited to seven tokens, each coming with a personalised video message and physical framed Wolves shirt signed by the England international, the club and its chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick see the move as its latest innovative step into new frontiers.

“Like a lot of people, I didn’t know much about them,” Williams admitted.

“A couple of my mates had mentioned it to me a few months ago and I’d been asking about it.

“I did a bit of research and spoke to Karl about a month after that; he’s really into it and thought it was a great idea to keep up with the times and do something new.

“I’m happy to be the first person to be involved in it, not only for me, but for Warrington to be the first to do it.

“Hopefully it can get a new world involved – NFTs and the Crypto world are going mad and hopefully we can gain some new supporters from it.

“It’s a way to get people talking about the sport one way or the other.

“My next step is to buy some myself, maybe one of my own.

“It’s crazy when you read that digital photos are selling for millions but that’s the way we’re heading.”

Fitzpatrick believes the club has nothing to lose and everything to gain from the move.

He explained: “It shows that as an organisation we want to be at the forefront of new media and new platforms.

“One of our core values is being progressive and this certainly fits and aligns to that.

“There are other opportunities that we can explore as well.

“These are the platforms that the younger generation are engaging with, so it makes sense that if we want to broaden our supporter base and attract young fans, we need to be on those platforms and speaking the language that they understand.

“And it’s not just the NFTs – if you saw our kit launch recently, it was done in a manner that will engage a younger audience.

“It’s fair to say that the response has been mixed because it’s a relatively new concept.

“People are trying to understand it and get their heads around it.

“Some have seen that we’re ahead of the game – and ahead of a lot of Premier League clubs – and have said fair play for seeing the opportunity.

“We’re being bold enough to step up and be the first in Rugby League.

“We’ve never been afraid to innovate or push the boundaries.

“We live in a noisy environment where everybody is vying for attention, and if you’re just vanilla then people will scroll past you.

“You need to be interesting and relevant, otherwise you wither and die.”

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