Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 21: Joe Williams

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs half Joe Williams

Back again, as this time we have a chat to former South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canterbury Bulldogs and Penrith Panthers half Joe Williams.

A talented half, Williams has not been shy, rather quite open about his battles.

He talks about that famous 2002 Jersey Flegg final, how boxing has played a part in his life and much more.

So as always, sit back and enjoy the questions:

1. What was your earliest rugby league memory?

Playing against my big brother and cousins. Some of the most gifted opponents I ever played against were relatives in our backyard.

2. In 2002, you kicked the winning field goal with the Sydney Roosters Jersey Flegg side; what was the grand final experience like and what do you recall of that game?

It was magic.

It was a huge occasion; we were in the GF and first grade was in the GF later that night.

One piece of advice I’ll never forget. Gus Gould pulled me aside before we went out to warm up and said to me, ‘name me a grand final winning team where the halfback didn’t play well.’

I couldn’t.. He looked at me and said (along the lines of) ‘that’s right, you can’t; and if you guys are going to win today, you need to play well.’

I was lucky a few things went my way that day.. We won, first grade won, it was a solid few days to follow..

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs half Joe Williams

3. You made your NRL debut for Souths in 2004; what did it mean to make your debut and were you expecting it?

You always want to, but can never expect to.

I was grateful that I was given the opportunity but copped a head knock from an accidental knee in the opening minutes, so I don’t remember any of the game.

4. The early to mid 2000’s were tough years for Souths; what was the team environment and atmosphere like throughout that time?

It was tough.

I was grateful to be in first grade but wins were few and far. Pressure is always on when you aren’t winning.

Former rugby league player Joe Williams as boxing champ

5. After brief stints with Penrith and Canterbury, you turned your hand to boxing; was it always something you wanted to pursue?

Yeah. I was always in gyms as a kid, my old man was a boxer also.

To this day, I love boxing more than I love league.

6. You’ve been open about your battles with depression in the past and were a part of a short story ‘The Enemy Within’ released at Waggafest a few years ago; what helped you get through the battle in the end?

The battle continues, I’m just better equipped to keep it at bay these days.

Boxing helped me in the early days and it continues to help me today with the training side of things.

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs half Joe Williams

7. If you had any advice for young rugby league players, what would it be?

Just be the absolute best you can be; try and train as hard as you can.

Although football my seem like a huge priority in your life, it’s more important to think about and set yourself up for life after footy; education, uni, trades etc.

Do your best, but remember, it’s a game, it’s not life.. it can be, very much so, but for the majority it’s not; set yourself up for life after footy.

 

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