Williams keen to cash in
Sam Williams' shot at the St George Illawarra No.7 jersey has come around quicker than expected, but he's poised to make the most of the unexpected opportunity against the Warriors on Saturday. The ex-Raider was left out of the Dragons' first round team, playing in the NSW Cup while Michael Witt grabbed the first grade slot ahead of him. But with Witt sidelined by a shoulder injury sustained in the big win over the Tigers, Williams now gets his chance in Auckland. "I'm not the first bloke to ever play reserve grade; I just need to go back there and play well and have a good attitude," Williams said. "I certainly knew that one good game (in the NSW Cup) would not get me back into first grade so I was prepared to play (there) for a while. But this game is all about opportunity and one has presented itself to me. I'm just going to go out there and play my best this weekend and get the job done."
Lowrie given the all-clear
Brisbane forward Todd Lowrie will line-up against the Cowboys on Friday after passing a concussion test at training. Lowrie has been in doubt on all week after leaving the field dazed following a collision with Canterbury rival Frank Pritchard last Friday night. The NRL has introduced strict new guidelines to protect concussion victims, but Lowrie showed no ill-effects after being check by medical staff on Thursday. "He is good. He has passed that test and will be on the bench tomorrow night," Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin said after training.
SBW gutted by ban
Roosters teammates say Sonny Bill Williams remains shattered at having to sit out three matches after accepting a ban over the controversial shoulder charge rule. SBW will miss games against Parramatta, Brisbane and Manly after the NRL match review committee ruled his hit on Souths' George Burgess was illegal under the strict shoulder charge guidelines. "He was devastated when he found out the grading," prop Sam Moa said. He didn't want to miss any games. He was really disappointed because he felt he let the team down. "
More oomph promised by Sea Eagles
South Sydney can expect more venom in the Manly defence on Friday night after Anthony Watmough admitted his team lacked sting in the disappointing first round loss to Melbourne. The Sea Eagles blew a 20-point lead in crashing to a 23-22 loss. Ahead of the Bluetongue Stadium showdown with the Bunnies, Watmough says the emphasis all week had been on improving the team's soft defence up the middle. "They’ve got some big boys and they run hard, so we've got to pick up our physicality of the game," he said. "We have to really get our bodies in front and try and slow them down as best we can because if we don't, Issac Luke is going to have a field day."