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BULLDOG BOND FOR WILLIAMS


By ZAC MILBANK (SANFL) | Twitter @zacmilbank

Like it or not, Ryan Williams can’t escape the Gowans twins.
As Central District’s consistent midfielder approaches his 150th SANFL match against North at Prospect on Saturday, he reflected on the bond he has built with James and Chris since making his SANFL debut in 2007.
But Williams’ first encounter with the twins actually came a lot earlier than when he arrived in South Australia having been drafted by AFL club Port Adelaide in 2006.
From the same Victorian country town, Anglesea, as the recently inducted SA Football Hall of Famers, Williams vividly recalls his first meeting.
‘’When I was 12, dad organised one of them to come to my house to teach me a few things,’’ said Williams, 188cm and 89kg.
‘’They were on the St Kilda list then so I was pretty nervous when they came to teach me a few skills but it has paid off in the end.
‘’We had a bit of a kick on my left foot and they taught me that if you handball it (football) into the brick wall, it will come back to you properly.
‘’I can’t actually remember which one it was – they both say it was them – but there was only one of them at the time so they always fight about that one.’’
Becoming an impromptu umpire is something Williams has become accustomed to since undertaking his building apprenticeship with the Gowans boys.
On the field, the 25-year-old has played in three premierships with the cult heroes, providing the ultimate script to his footballing story.
‘’I had an older brother who was 14 years older than me and I never got to play footy with him,’’ said Williams, who played in the TAC Cup at the Geelong Falcons with Power captain Travis Boak.
‘’Then I rocked up to Central pretty much by fluke in the (SANFL) mini draft. Lucky I went there as I always looked up to the boys and they have moulded me into the player that I am now.’’
Now considered one of the senior stars in the Bulldogs’ line-up, Williams has revelled in the responsibility thrust upon him since the Gowans twins retired at the end of 2012.
‘’This year a lot of us have stepped up a bit – playing our own style of footy,’’ said Williams, originally from St Joseph’s Football Club in Victoria.
‘’The game style has changed as it has gone away from the one-on-one style it used to be at Central. So we are trying to create our own little dynasty if you could say that.’’
Foremost on Williams’ mind is ensuring his milestone results in victory considering the Bulldogs need the premiership points to play in September.
Long-term, Central’s No.35 has his sights set on joining the Gowans twins in the SANFL’s 200 club.
‘’It is actually but I don’t know when it will be,’’ Williams said of reaching the double century.
‘’I’ve been here for so long already, I don’t know if there will be a break on the cards or not – I have kept my cards pretty close to my chest.
‘’I will be around next year for sure but being only 25 and needing another 50 games I should get there at some stage.’

 
 

 Williams, second from right in the winners circle flanked by Jarrod Schiller and Josh Glenn.          

Picture by Michael Young Photography

 

Williams, clenches his fist as the ball sails through for a great goal.                    

Picture by Michael Young Photography.

 

Williams, centre, embracing teammates after the recent win over Sturt at Unley.              

  Picture by Peter Argent www.phatsnaps.photoshelter.com

 

Hi Fiving Tim McIntyre earlier this season in a match against Adelaide.              

Picture by Michael Young Photography

 

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