Local junior signs on for 2020

Local De La Salle junior Jack Williams, a standout for the Newtown Jets over the past two years, has signed a development contract with the Sharks for the 2020 season.

Williams, a half-five eighth who has come through the Sharks system since playing in the Matthews Cup side as a 15-year-old, not to be confused with the hard-running backrower of the same name currently playing with the Club’s NRL squad, is certain to add depth to the Cronulla halves next year.

In signing a development contract, Williams will train alongside the full time Sharks NRL squad throughout the 2020 season.

“I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to be a part of it and to rip in,” Williams said. “To train alongside Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend and to learn from them is a great opportunity.

“I had John Morris as my coach in the under-20’s and he was probably the best coach I’ve had. It will be great to have the chance to work and learn from him again and also with DJ (Daniel Holdsworth) who has coached me before and from Dave (Howlett) who I had all through school at Endeavour.”

Williams will also get the chance to reunite with former De La Salle and Sharks junior rep teammate Connor Tracey, who also recently signed on to return to the Cronulla club in 2020.

Between the two local youngsters, Morris is satisfied he has the depth of talent to cover his incumbent halves pairing, while keeping the pressure on for Johnson and Townsend to maintain their form next year and in the seasons ahead.

“Jack has come through our junior pathways, was my captain when I was coach of the under-20’s the year we were minor premiers and has played exceptionally well for the Jets over the past two seasons,” Morris said. “He deserves his chance and it will be good to work with Jack again and to have him in our full-time squad next year.”

The grandson of the St George great and rugby league immortal the late Reg Gasnier, the 22-year-old Williams learnt his rugby league across the road from PointsBet Stadium at Captain Cook Oval, coming through the grades at the De La Salle club and attending the local Endeavour Sports High School.

From there he entered the Sharks development and academy system as a 14-year-old and progressed to play Matthews Cup, SG Ball and in the NYC Holden Cup competition.

Upon graduating from the under 20’s Williams joined the Sharks Canterbury Cup partner club Newtown, where he has been an integral member of their team for the past two seasons.

Such is the high regard in which Williams is held at the Jets, he will run out as captain in their final round match against Newcastle on Saturday.

Small in stature but a brave and outstanding defender with a kicking game, good speed and ball playing ability, Williams will try to use the full-time training opportunity to also build himself up physically in an effort to handle the demands of the NRL if and when the opportunity presents sometime down the track.

“I’m 82kgs on a good day, 80 on a bad one,” Williams joked. “But I’ve put on 10kgs and I reckon with full time training I can put on a bit more.”

Jack Williams with dad Peter after signing his 2020 Development contract
Jack Williams with dad Peter after signing his 2020 Development contract