Flashback Friday: Jason Williams’ ’94 grand final try

Flashback Friday: Jason Williams’ ’94 grand final try

This week Flashback Friday remembers one of the great moments produced by a Cantabrian in an Australian premiership grand final – Canterbury Bulldogs winger Jason Williams’ long-range intercept try against the Canberra Raiders in the 1994 decider at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Williams, simultaneously with Raiders front-rower Quentin Pongia, became just the third ex-Canterbury (NZ) player to appear in a NSWRL Grand Final after Bill Noonan (Canterbury-Bankstown, 1974) and Brent Todd (Canberra, 1987 and 1989-91), while he became the first to score a try in one.

The shell-shocked Bulldogs fell 14-0 behind against the Raiders in the ’94 decider, but Williams provided his side with some desperately-needed respite before halftime. The Kiwi flyer reeled in a Laurie Daley cut-out pass and outpaced Brett Mullins and Jason Croker on an 80-metre sprint to the try-line.

Williams’ try against the run of play was not a turning point, however, with the Raiders going on with the job to carve out a 36-12 victory.

Christchurch-born, Williams headed to Sydney at the age of 15 and made his first grade debut for Western Suburbs as a 19-year-old in 1987, before spending the following season with Eastern Suburbs.

He returned home in 1989 and debuted for the Canterbury provincial side against Wellington, but after spending the next year with Sydney Metropolitan Cup side Guildford, he received his big break during a 1991 season with South Sydney that garnered 12 tries in 16 games – and a New Zealand Test debut in the famous 24-8 thrashing of Australia in Melbourne.

The wiry Williams linked with the Bulldogs the following season and became a regular fixture in first grade, despite battling countryman Daryl Halligan and Queensland Origin speedster Brett Dallas for a spot on the flank, while he advanced his Test tally to 12 appearances by the end of 1995.

Although he tasted bitter defeat in the 1994 Grand Final, he clinched a premiership medal in the Bulldogs’ 17-4 boilover against Manly in the ’95 decider. The journeyman finished his colourful career with three seasons at Penrith (1996-98).

His 63 first grade tries in the Australian premiership are a record for Canterbury product.

Head over to the Canterbury Rugby League Facebook page to check out Williams’ memorable intercept try in the 1994 Grand Final.

JASON WILLIAMS – CAREER OVERVIEW

Representative

Canterbury (1989): 1 match – 0 points.

New Zealand (1991-95): 12 Tests – 1 try (4 points)

Australian premiership

Western Suburbs (1987): 7 games – 2 tries (8 points)

Eastern Suburbs (1988): 8 games – 1 try (4 points)

South Sydney (1991): 16 games – 12 tries (48 points)

Canterbury (1992-95): 73 games – 34 tries (136 points)

Penrith (1996-98): 41 games – 14 tries (56 points)

TOTAL: 145 games – 63 tries (256 points)

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