WIGAN WARRIORS’ young player of the year George Williams is keen to follow in Zak Hardaker’s footsteps.
Williams, 20, is set to make his second Grand Final appearance when Wigan face Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford tomorrow.
And the stand-off is desperate to finish an already good week on a high, after being named Super League’s top youngster at Monday’s Man of Steel awards.
It was a similar scenario for Rhinos full-back Hardaker, who collected a winner’s medal in his second Grand Final, three years ago, after being named young player of the year a few days earlier.
Hardaker this week added the big prize, when he was honoured as the 2015 Man of Steel – and Williams’ award has made him keen to achieve more in his own career.
“I was absolutely made up just to be nominated, never mind win the trophy,” Williams – a substitute in last year’s Grand Final loss to St Helens – said of his young player recognition.
“When you see the likes of Sam Tomkins and Zak Hardaker have won it and then gone on to be Man of Steel, it can only make me strive for bigger things.”
Williams will partner scrum-half Matty Smith tomorrow and he added: “It’s a dream come true.
“I have watched Wigan play in big finals as a kid and went with my grandad for years.
“To now be involved in them is surreal and I cannot believe it.
“I came off the bench in last year’s Grand Final, but this is the biggest game of my life.
“I’m starting at stand-off and that’s my position. It’s a chance to prove myself. Matty is a general and likes organising the team, whereas I am a bit more off the cuff.
“He sorts us out and I like to run a bit more and create something different.
“The balance is working well.”