Wigan’s George Williams says he was tempted by lure of Australia

Aaron Bower
George Williams has signed a new four-year deal with Wigan until the end of 2021 but will be allowed to leave in 2020 if a ‘pre-defined’ transfer fee is met. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Reuters

George Williams has said he was tempted by Australia and the NRL before he eventually decided to commit his long-term future to Wigan this week. The England international has agreed a new four-year contract with the Super League champions until the end of 2021 after months of speculation over his future, but will be allowed to leave in 2020 if a “pre-defined” transfer fee is met.

Williams was the subject of interest from a number of NRL sides and he conceded it was a tough decision. “The temptation to go there was massive,” he said. “It wasn’t something I just decided on overnight, we’re talking three or four months here to weigh everything up and work out what the right decision was at this stage of my career.

“It was the start of January when I first learned of any interest, so before I kicked a ball this year people were interested. I’ve had some sleepless nights weighing it up but I know I’ve made the right decision. I’m made up to sign the new contract; I’ve been here since I was 12 years old and I’ve got another four years ahead of me: I can’t wait.”

The 22-year-old is widely considered to be one of the finest talents in world rugby, and he said he is likely to chance his arm in Australia in the coming years. “Wigan have shown some loyalty to me and I’ve grown up playing for this club, and right now it feels right to be here and learn my trade and stay around family and friends,” Williams said. “Maybe further down the line it’ll become an option.

“I’m still learning; I’ve been lucky enough to play for England quite early but I’ve got a long way to go yet. I’m miles away from being the finished article. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in some big occasions but there’s a lot more to come from me.”

Williams played a crucial role as Wigan ended a four-game winless run with victory against St Helens on Friday. Their attention now turns to Monday’s trip to Wakefield, where they were beaten 62-0 last season. “Wakefield have been playing well so we won’t underestimate them,” he said.

“I didn’t play last year but I was watching the scores come in on Twitter and it was a tough one to take for everyone involved with the club. It was a massive embarrassment for the club and the town and it’s something I think will motivate us to go there and put last year right. We’ve had a shaky period but this is the time of year where we can gain on teams. Pick up a couple of wins and you’re right back in the mix. That’s our goal.”

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