The secret behind star Giant’s special sidestep

r0_77_2391_1653_w1200_h678_fmaxA SIDESTEP developed playing rugby league is helping rising star Zac Williams prosper at Greater Western Sydney.

In previous seasons, Williams has established himself as a dashing half-back flanker.

But with multiple injuries digging deep into the Giants midfield and forward stocks, 22-year-old Williams has found himself pressed into those areas in recent games.

He bagged a career-high three goals in last week’s win over Essendon, adding 25 touches, seven tackles and six marks in a standout performance, which earned him selection in the AFL.com.au’s team of the week.

His ability to weave through traffic with his sidestep is a big weapon.

“When I was younger I played a bit of rugby league coming up through my junior years,” Williams told AAP.

“I think playing rugby with all my friends and my cousins in the backyard I just developed the sidestep from a young age, so it’s sort of helped me out over the last couple of years.”

He played on the wing and at five-eighth in the 13-a-side code, but Australian Rules captured his heart despite a family connection to rugby league.

“Dad played league. He got a few letters from NRL teams up in Sydney, but he just never took the opportunity because he didn’t want to leave home,” Williams said.

“I guess, he was a bit of a mother’s boy like I am, but my mum kicked me out of the house and told me to go find my dreams.”

Williams had to work for his opportunity as he didn’t get picked up in the national draft and got his chance with the Giants through the rookie draft.

“It made me appreciate it a little bit more and made me work a bit harder,” Williams said.

He has relished the variety of roles given to him in recent weeks, but it means he has to check with head coach Leon Cameron to see which line meeting he has to attend.

“Lately it’s been the midfield meetings,” said Williams, who played all his junior football in the middle.

His goalkicking exploits against Essendon caught the attention of the ‘Wolfpack’, the Giants’ invitation-only group for forwards.

“After the weekend’s game, Toby (Greene) said he might have to send out the invitation to the Wolfpack in the mail to me,” Williams said.

“I’ve never really played forward, so when I go down there I feel a bit lost, but Jeremy Cameron and Jonny Patton and Toby Greene, they look after me.”