With Esh Group Eagles Newcastle facing a tough and long road trip taking in two games in two days this weekend, who better than to preview those games than new signing Jamal Williams, writes Jeff King.
Williams debuted in last Friday’s tight home win against Sheffield playing almost 15 minutes in a great cameo appearance that showed he has a lot to offer this talented Newcastle roster and he enjoyed the experience.
“It was a great feeling and nice to be back on the floor in general. I really enjoyed it and I’m happy to be in the black and white strip of Newcastle rather than playing against them. I did play a little bit more than I thought I would after only getting in two days before.”
“I actually thought I wouldn’t see the floor at or perhaps maybe five minutes or so. But, it was good to get my feet wet and it’s been a long time since I had so many butterflies before a game but when that first shot went in it settled me and I really enjoyed it after that.”
“I like our team, we’re really good. We are very deep, and we’ve got a lot of talent. With the personnel we have we can put out a lot of versatile line-ups and play different styles. We have a lot to work with and it could be a really successful season if they all come together.”
With Zarko Jukic on international duty, Williams will help plug the gap the Dane’s unavailability will create and as an experienced player, Williams is aware of the danger both Bristol and Plymouth pose. He played two years at Plymouth under current Raiders’ coach Gavin Love giving him an insight to that game but knows Bristol will also be tough.
“They play hard at home and their loud crowd helps them out. It’s a small gym but they create a big atmosphere. Coach Kapoulas knows his stuff and has his teams well organised and I don’t doubt that we’ll get their best foot forward at us.”
“My time at Plymouth I played under Gavin (Love), so it’ll be good to see him too. I haven’t really seen or heard a lot about his team this season, so I’ll be going off what our coaching staff tell me. It’s a long trip and no matter what team I’ve been on that game down there has never been easy and this one will be no different.”
“I think playing at Plymouth and playing under Gavin was a long time ago now. I know I’ve improved since then and I’m sure he has improved as a coach. We’re both kind of going in to that game a little bit blind about how we’ve grown in these past years so I’m not sure if it’s an advantage to either of us.”
“What I do know about him is that he’ll know what we’re about and he’ll have his team prepared as well as he can for us. We absolutely must be the same and I’m sure we will be. I’m an Eagle now and with the talent we have we’re always prepared for a hard game and we’ll wait and see how that one pans out.”
“It’ll be great though if we can come through such a tough and long weekend with two wins and although its obvious to say it, that’s what we’re aiming for, nothing less.”
There’s no doubt on paper that these are two very winnable games for The Eagles. But, as the cliché goes, games are not played on paper, they’re played on the floor and there’s no doubting Fab Flournoy and his men will be pleased to have Williams in their ranks as they look to continue their unbeaten league run.