Sam Williams: Winning at home the key
Raiders halfback Sam Williams has stressed the importance of winning games at home after an unbeaten start to the season for the Green Machine.
After failing to come away with the competition points nine times at home in 2015, the Raiders know just how important it is to win tight games at GIO Stadium.
With two wins at home and a draw in the Hunter to open the new year, Williams says his side are riding a wave of confidence heading into Round 4.
“You always take confidence out of winning, and winning form is obviously the best place to be in,” said Williams.
“We’ve had a couple of wins at home now and we want to make it three at home [against the Titans]. It’s really important in those tight games that we spoke about, that we complete them and finish them off well. Hopefully we can win again this weekend.”
A raft of injuries in the halves has left Williams to shoulder the pressure in the big moments, highlighted by his match-winning field goal against the Roosters a fortnight ago.
Unfortunately lightning did not strike twice for the Cooma junior, with Saturday’s nail-biter against the Knights finishing in a 24-all draw.
“It would be nice if I kicked one on the weekend but it’s the style of football that I play. I like to grind teams down and try and win it a little bit later.
“We probably don’t have that explosiveness without Blake [Austin] and Aidan [Sezer] there at the moment – they can really turn a game on the head within a matter of minutes.
“It’s important that we just keep grinding away and [we’re] putting ourselves in positions to win the games and working really hard for each other for the whole game. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
English import Elliott Whitehead has slotted into the five-eighth role in the absence of Austin and Lachlan Croker, changing the way the Raiders go about their business in attack.
“I don’t think it’s the most expansive style of footy at the moment, but that’s just the way we’ve got to be. We’re going to face a few different challenges throughout the year – it’s a long competition,” said Williams.
“At the moment we’re probably playing a little bit straighter, and trying to play a little bit up-tempo footy. It might change a little bit, but this weekend we’ll just focus on the Titans and playing some good footy at home.”
Williams will be looking to lead his side to their third straight home victory of the 2016 season this Saturday against the Gold Coast Titans.
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