Mitch Williams can sit and reflect proudly on his Rugby League career having achieved so much in the NSWRL’s premier competition but Maika Sivo’s try in the 2017 Grand Final remains a heart-breaking moment he’d rather forget.
The Wyong Roos had surged into 2017 decider from second-place on the competition ladder and on the back of a gritty 16-12 win over the Warriors in the Preliminary Final.
They were sitting comfortably with an 8-0 lead over Penrith with the half-time siren drawing near when Sivo produced a moment of brilliance to strike a dagger into the hearts of the Roos and ultimately shift momentum.
“Against Penrith, the whole first-half I felt really in control, we were doing everything really well and they hadn’t thrown too much at us,” Williams told The Short Side.
“But that try on half-time to go in at 8-6 was just so deflating, and it was pretty confusing on some of the boys on how to feel and five minutes into the second-half he had orchestrated some more magic and set up a couple of tries.
“It was weird against Sivo, because he played with Eloni Vunakece and he told us a little bit more about him, and (we saw) him and how raw he was.
“We knew he was going to be a special talent but we were hoping we weren’t going to see it on that night.”
Sivo produced a try-saving tackle on Joseph Manu in the dying stages of the contest to all but seal a 20-10 win at Leichhardt Oval.
Although it was a heart-breaking moment that continues to haunt Williams, the dynamic hooker still reflects with enormous pride on a rather illustrious career in the NSW Cup.
He represented the NSW Residents on four occasions, including an appearance as Captain in a curtain-raiser before State of Origin, won the 2015 Player of the Year award and inspired the Roos to two Grand Final appearances in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Captaining those two sides is what ranks amongst his most cherished memories.
"The two Grand Finals in 2015 and 2017, even though we lost both was still something that I’m extremely proud of (because) Wyong is my junior club,” he said.
“So to captain them on a large stage like that was pretty special.”
Williams is currently the captain and coach of the Wyong Roos first-grade side for the 2020 season.