Canberra halfback George Williams will make it a personal mission to shut down Viliame Kikau on Friday night, his second such assignment against the NRL’s most destructive forwards in six days.
Williams did what Anthony Milford and Jake Clifford couldn’t before him on Saturday, largely containing David Fifita in Canberra’s 20-4 win over Gold Coast.
The Englishman did not record one missed tackle against the hulking second-rower, only beaten in defence once when Fifita got an offload away in the lead up to a try.
While Fifita has bust more tackles than any other second rower in 2021 with 26, Penrith’s Kikau isn’t far behind in second on 22.
Williams will be giving up a whopping 25kg to the Fijian powerhouse, with the Panthers sure to direct plenty of traffic his way in the Raiders’ right edge.
Not that Williams is concerned ahead of the Friday night blockbuster.
“I wanted to take it personally (against Fifita) and not give him too many,” Williams said.
“He had one offload they scored a try off but other than that I was really pleased with how our right edge dealt with him.
“Kikau has a bit of a different thing to Fifita, but they’re both big, massive, powerful players.
“It’s a bit tough when you’re only 90kgs taking on the big boys but I’ll do my best.
“You can take that a bit more personally, you’re into him and you’re tackling him.”
Williams has met Kikau just once before, with the second-rower scoring a try and running over him once in a mid-season match up last year.
Ke is certain to see plenty of footage of Kikau causing havoc in video sessions this week ahead of the trip to Penrith.
Kikau made a mockery of Manly’s right edge on Thursday night, scoring twice and likely leaving Daly Cherry-Evans with nightmares of trying to bring him down.
But tackling big men has never fazed Williams.
He made his start in the English Super League for Wigan as a hooker before shifting into the halves.
It was also his defence that made his Wigan coach Adrian Lam sure he’d succeed in the NRL, ending a run of under-performing English halves.
“It don’t get any easier but that’s why I came to the NRL, to test myself against the best players in the world, the big names,” Williams said.
“We have to take positives from (handling Fifita). He’s been scoring a couple of tries a game, getting 10 or 12 tackle breaks.
“It’s another challenge for myself and the team (trying to shut down Kikau), I’m looking forward to that one.
“There’s good left backrowers across the comp, every week I’ve got my hands full.”