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Baby boy could revive TRex's NRL season

Tony Williams carefully ignored the barrage of criticism over his early NRL season form - and now has a welcome distraction to keep his mind off the doubters of his ability.
Baby boy could revive TRex's NRL season
by AAP

By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, June 4 AAP - Tony Williams carefully ignored the barrage of criticism over his early NRL season form - and now has a welcome distraction to keep his mind off the doubters of his ability.

Williams, a marquee recruit to Canterbury in the off-season, and his partner welcomed a baby boy into their family on Monday morning, leaving the damaging second-rower in high spirits.

It is a world removed from the sad figure who was slammed by criticism earlier in the season that he was not living up to his hefty pay packet.

But having found form in the past month, and a new boy to keep him occupied at home, teammates are predicting Williams will produce his best form of the season.

"Every player takes criticism differently. Myself, bad publicity ... I just learn to shut them off," fellow forward Frank Pritchard told AAP on Tuesday.

"But having a kid helps. They'll be proud.

"When times are tough, he can spend time with his family. You can't get bogged down in what the media write."

Williams, who missed last round's victory over St George Illawarra with knee and ankle injuries, joined teammates for a brief training session on Tuesday before returning to be with his wife who is still in hospital.

"He's over the moon. The first child, it means a lot," Pritchard said.

"He's so young ... I had my first at 19 and my only tip to him is that there's nothing better than spending a lot of time with your wife and your child."

Veteran Dene Halatau, who is expecting his second child sometime next week, believed the news would help Williams relax off the field - but said he didn't feel the criticism earlier in the season had weighed the 118kg behemoth down too much.

"From what I see, he doesn't put that on his shoulders and carry it as a burden," Halatau said.

"He's just focused on working hard at training and trying to put (the criticism) aside.

"Definitely the baby is a good distraction for him and something that can make him a bit more relaxed off the field.

"(But) I don't think he was playing poorly at all.

"He was knocking out big minutes, which is impressive for a guy his size who is carrying the ball a lot.

"And teams were sending three or four guys at him every time."

Williams wasn't named to make his return against North Queensland, but is expected to be back running this week and remains a chance for the Saturday night fixture.

"Having him back on the park is a big bonus," Pritchard said.

"He definitely brings a lot.

"Having him in the field is intimidating to a lot of teams. He can fend off, palm, offload."




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