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RHINO AN EMERGING LEADER AT THE PONDEROSA

By Peter Argent

From the surf coast at Anglesea and having a connection with his employers and team mates, the Gowans twins since he was 12, Ryan Williams is one of the emerging leaders at Central District.
Along with played football with nine-time premiership twins Chris and James Gowans, he is also a fourth year apprentice with their building company.
“My connection started when dad took me up to meet them as a 12-year-old,” Williams explained.
“They were at St Kilda at the time and taught be how to kick on my left foot and how to bounce the ball with my left hand.
“Chris and James also suggested to Roy Laird for Central District to take me in the SANFL mini draft, when I was one of two players left to be aligned to a local club, just because they knew me and I came from Anglesea.”
The second last selection in the 2006 national draft, taken by the Power, he made his AFL debut at Telstra Stadium against Carlton in round 19, 2008.
“Yes, I’m a member of the two AFL game club, with ‘Noodles’ (triple Bulldogs premiership player Elijah Ware)” Williams said.
“Actually when ‘Noodles’ was working with us, we’d give Chris plenty of grief – with James playing four games with St Kilda – he was only one that hadn’t played AFL footy.
Williams, whilst coming from Anglesea and frequently surf in his youth instead of going for a run like he told his father, playing his football for St Joseph’s in the highly regarded Geelong Football League.
“We had some success at underage level, being coached by 1989 Brownlow Medallist Paul Couch and playing alongside his son, Tom,” Williams continued.
“I also played one senior match for St Joe’s against Colac as a 16-year-old. 
“I had a couple of season with the Geelong Falcons in the TAC cup and was a member of the Victoria Country side in the second year.
“We came second to Vic Metro but the final game at Optus (Oval) was a shocker in relentless rain, where if memory serves me correct, they kicked three goals to two.”
“They were something like 16 or 17 Vic Country boys drafted that year including Travis Boak, Joel Selwood (who didn’t play any under 18s football that year) and Ben Reid.”
At the Ponderosa, Williams was an emergency on Grand Final day in his first season, having played in the last four season deciders, for three successive flags from 2008.
“Now I’m 23, with guys like Trent (Goodrem), Scott (Dutschke) and Brayden (O’Hara) we are the new emerging leaders at Central’s,” he said.
“We need have a more dynamic influence on games.
“You can’t expect the senior guys like the twins and ‘Thomo’ (Captain Paul Thomas) to continue as match winners.
“We need to lean on their experience and take over from them as the key play makers.”
Noted for his attack on the football and ability to win the contested ball Williams is on the brink of his 100-game landmark with Central District.
“As it works out, it should be against Port Adelaide, on the same day as Thomo plays his 200th and Scott also plays his 100th. There won’t be much space left on the banner,” Williams laughed.
“My connection with the twins also continued when I was rewarded with the ANZAC Day Bob Quinn Medal (for best on ground) in the Grand Final rematch. 
“It is an accolade I hold pretty high, as both Chris and James have won it previously.
“Although I don’t expect to catch their record of nine premiership medallions, playing in title wins alongside them has been special as well.”

 
 Ryan Wlliams against West Adelaide earlier this season
 
Ryan with his Bob Quinn Medal on ANZAC Day 2012
 

This story (without photos) first ran in Inside Football

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