Pride lose Williams
NORTHERN Pride captain Ty Williams has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in Sunday's crucial 44-16 win over Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
The injury is a further setback for the Pride as they teeter on the brink of finals contention and need to win every game to remain in the top-five mix.
Not only are the Pride without their fullback, they must play with a reconstructed spine that was already weakened a fortnight ago by the season-ending injury to hooker Jason Roos.
Coach David Maiden recognised the task ahead but pointed to Sunday’s flogging of the league’s second-top team as evidence it could be done.
"They’re professionals and they’ll adapt well," Maiden said.
"We’re all very disappointed for Ty and it’s going to be difficult.
‘‘He was playing great footy for us at fullback.
‘‘He’s been leading from the front. But someone will step in and step in with enthusiasm."
Williams’ injury is the latest in a series of distractions the Pride have had to deal with as they mount an unlikely charge into the Intrust Super Cup top five.
Earlier in the year, the team was given the news that Maiden would be leaving the club at the end of the season. Then, a fortnight ago, Roos was lost for the season with an ACL injury. On the same night, Williams told his teammates he was gone for the year, they learnt Jason Demetriou had been appointed coach for 2013.
It’s a lot to digest for a playing group that cannot afford to drop another game between now and the end of the season.
But Maiden is confident the team will remain switched on.
"They are professionals and they know what’s expected of them," he said.
"As a coach you’ve got to adapt and as players you’ve got to adapt."
On Sunday, the Pride showed they could adapt without Williams on the field by throttling the league’s second best side.
Maiden initially replaced Williams with Ryan Ghietti, who usually plays in the halves, but shifted him to hooker when starting rake Blake Leary needed a spell.
That forced winger Hezron Murgha moving to fullback.
Murgha earned the players’ player award for his effort and became the instant favourite to take over from Williams for the remainder of the season.
But the Pride have depth at the position – Chey Bird, Ben Fitzpatrick and Wayne Ulugia have filled the custodian role and offer Maiden
options. With the bye this weekend, Williams’ replacement will get vital extra time to prepare for the new role.
As for the captain, Maiden was certain he would be back in Pride colours next season.
"Ty will be fine. He’ll play next year," Maiden said.
"He’s a thorough professional and a very important player at the club."
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Disappointment: Northern Pride captain Ty Williams will miss the remainder of the Intrust Super Cup season after suffering a serious knee injury against Wynnum Manly on Sunday.