Williams enjoys State Cup return

first_imgFormer NRL player, Joe Williams made a welcome return to the New South Wales State Cup in Port Macquarie on the weekend and even has some new silverware to show for it. Williams was part of the Wollongong Devils team that took out the Senior Mixed title 9-2 over the Balmain Tigers in the final on Sunday. We caught up with Williams to talk about all things Touch Football and Rugby League as well as the great work he is doing in the community.  How have you found the return to State Cup?It’s been good, I haven’t played State Cup for about 10 years. Backing up game after game has been a little bit hard on the body. I haven’t played competitive Touch for a very long time but as a boxer your lung capacity and cardio fitness is through the roof. It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed it.You played Country Championships earlier this year too, how was that experience?It was the first time I’d ever played Country Champs, it was good. The bonus of it, my fiance is a Dubbo girl so we got home to see family. It was good to get back into that fold of playing competitive Touch again. Being out of it for a long time was only due to playing footy and not being allowed to play or not having the time to play. I’ve always loved Touch and always said I’d come back to Touch so it’s a natural progression. People don’t realise how good it is for your skill as a League player, if you play Touch growing up it’s going to be of benefit moving into your League career and then as old bloke on the downhill run you come back to it.How good is it to see players like Scott Prince and yourself return to Touch Football?I caught up with Princey (at State Cup), it’s good to catch up with him because I haven’t seen him for a number of years. He has been a great ambassador for Touch Football Australia over the last couple of years, getting back into it and playing at a high level. When I saw him doing that I thought it might be time for me to get back into it as well, it’s been good. What was your inspiration around making a comeback now?My last fight was in May and I thought I may as well keep fit, it’s a different way of having fitness. For me I have to always do something competitive so if I’m not getting ready or preparing for a fight I don’t have much. That’s a real coping strategy for me with my mental health, I’ve been fairly vocal about my mental health history and problems over the years so it’s a real coping strategy for me to prepare for something and Touch has been great for it because it keeps me fit and healthy. Do you play regularly in Wagga too?I play in the Wagga comp, which is always good. It’s a bit frustrating not keeping up with the younger blokes any more. It’s always good, I love getting out there and giving a bit of banter and the competitiveness of playing high level Touch. It’s been fantastic, I’ve had a really good weekend. How good is the NRL-TFA partnership from your perspective?It’s a natural progression for kids to sharpen their skills as Rugby League players and guys like myself and Princey get to come back and give back to the game a little bit as well. As well as keeping fit, it’s a great initiative to have that partnership for the kids coming through and the old blokes like us. How nice is it to come back and catch up with some familiar faces at State Cup?That’s the best thing about Touch Footy, you’ve got that competitive nature but State Cup is on a different level to NTL, you still have the people that aren’t as competitive in these tournaments. It’s a great factor to be able to come away and catch up with mates, that’s what it’s all about. I’ve had friends from when I made my first rep Touch Footy side as a 14 or 15-year-old that I’m still mates with, it’s huge to be able to come back some 15 to 20 years later and catch up with these people. You play Touch and it sounds a bit cliche but you build friendships for life. Can you tell us a bit about your younger years playing Touch Football?I played 18’s and 20’s for Southern Suns and played NTL and Aussie 18’s at the Youth World Cup in New Zealand which was cool, again making friendships and relationships with people from other countries that still keep in contact 20 years later. Can you tell us a bit about your work now? My role at Mater Dei Catholic College in Wagga, I work as the Aboriginal Education Worker. My major role is to support all of the Aboriginal kids in their studies, making sure they are up to task with all of their subjects and assessments and so forth. It’s more of a mentoring role as well. I’m there next year two days a week and I’m on the road, I’ve got a mental health charity I’ve set up, called The Enemy Within. I’m going out and educating people on mental health and how to break down their mental health and live on a day-to-day basis by just managing their mental health. I always say, you don’t have to beat it, you just have to manage it well, that can make a huge impact and difference on anyone’s life. Related LinksWilliams Returnslast_img read more

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