Eels' Williams tastes NRL highs and lows - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels' Williams tastes NRL highs and lows

By Todd Balym 22/06/2008 07:06:08 PM Comments (0)

After two sensational games to start his NRL career, Parramatta winger Tony Williams was bound to have a tough day in the office sooner or later.

That day arrived on Sunday.

The gigantic Eels 19-year-old suffered both embarrassment and redemption as Parramatta went oh-so-close to claiming their third straight win and jumping into the NRL top eight for the first time this year.

Williams was left red-faced after he had the ball knocked from his grasp in his own in-goal area by Sharks five-eighth Brett Seymour in the 57th minute that handed Luke Douglas a simple flop to score a four-pointer that gave Cronulla the lead.

However the 110kg and 192cm monster made amends in the 76th minute by latching onto the end of a backline play to score in the corner and level scores 14-all for his first try in the NRL.

The Eels eventually lost 16-14 after a controversial penalty in the final minute, but it will be the lessons Williams learnt throughout the game that will be the biggest test yet for the highly touted teenager who was snapped up by Manly for 2009 on a $150,000 a year deal.

Cronulla made a deliberate ploy of targeting the rookie with their kicking game, the ball sailing through his hands on one occasion as he barely made contact with the spiralling punt.

Eels assistant coach David Fairleigh said despite his up and down effort Parramatta would likely continue the experiment of playing the under 20s backrower out on the flanks until he felt comfortable in first grade.

"We knew that they were going to target Tony this week. It was a challenge for him being his third game in," said Fairleigh.

"He has had a pretty good run so far and he probably made one or two errors.

"He certainly knows there is a long way to go and he didn't play bad by any means.

"That is first grade, he has to learn about it week in week out and what it takes."

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