Tom Williams: Eyes Only For The Future

Wednesday, 17 December, 2008

Former Morningside premiership player Tom Williams doesn't think about the injuries any more, writes Sam Edmund in the Herald Sun today. By his own admission, he would go insane if he did. And who would blame him?

The athletic Western Bulldogs defender, long touted as the key-position saviour at Whitten Oval, has managed just 19 games in four years. After being taken with the sixth pick in the 2004 national draft, the luckless Queenslander has been struck down by a string of unusual ailments.

Williams did not play an AFL game until 2007 after breaking the navicular bone in his foot three times, costing him the 2005 and 2006 seasons. After 13 games in 2007, his 2008 season was ruined by a rare thigh tendon injury that required expert advice to treat, a quadriceps strain in his other leg and a recurring shoulder problem.

"I'm not exactly setting record pace," Williams said of his average five matches a season. "For the last four years my feeling has been like, I've had to get through it, I just had to play a game and I just had to do this and do that. Now, I don't know whether I've matured, but I don't really think about it like that any more. I just take it week by week and I'm a bit flippant when it comes to injuries. If it happens, it happens, and I just do what I can and make sure that what I can control I don't let slip. I can't keep thinking about it, otherwise I wouldn't last the season."

The 22-year-old said the run of injuries had been tough to cope with. "It's a bit of a nightmare, all the injuries I've had," he said. "You're in the rehab group and training every day so you don't really have a chance to sit back and reflect on how crap everything is going, but your teammates are good about it and you've just got to suck it up. I just keep thinking I've got to keep chipping away. Every injury I get I ask a lot of questions and I pretty much know what I have to do and what everything is about."

Williams and the Bulldogs are hoping it's a case of fifth season lucky. And so far the signs are good that the 196cm, 101kg centre half-back will finally emerge next year. "The pre-season has been really good," he said after a testing boxing session at Port Melbourne yesterday.

"I wasn't able to start straight up with it, but I've eased in and I've been going full-on for the last three weeks. The Arizona camp was really positive and really good and last week I've just gone hell for leather and it's going better than I thought it would. If I could play, you know, 25 games in a season that would be super, but if I just measure myself on how many games I play I'm not going to be a very good player anyway."



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