More than one sports star in SBW's family

TUREI MACKEY
Last updated 08:40 20/08/2011
Sonny Bill Williams
GRAHAME COX/Auckland Now
RUNS IN THE FAMILY: John Arthur Williams, brother of Sonny Bill, above, is playing for the New Lynn stags in the Phelan Shield grandfinal at Mt Smart stadium today.

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While his younger brother is getting ready for the biggest match in his fledging All Black career, John Arthur Williams is preparing for his own important match this weekend.

Sonny Bill Williams' older brother will be starting in the second row for the New Lynn Stags when the side takes on Papatoetoe in Auckland Rugby League's Phelan Shield grandfinal at Mt Smart Stadium today.

The club has already earned promotion to the higher ranked Sharman Cup competition for 2012 but John Arthur, who previously played in the Queensland Cup and NSW Cup competitions, wants to end his first season with New Lynn on a high.

''Earning promotion is good and all but a season is judged on a final so the boys will be upset if we don't come away with the win.''

The 28-year-old joined the west Auckland club after moving up from Christchurch where he had been staying with his famous brother.

''I moved back to Auckland after the earthquake and a friend plays for the club so I just went along with him to a training session,'' he says.

''It is quite professional here and to be honest I was quite shocked by that. The game in Auckland has really picked up since I left.''

Coach Revell Neal, whose son Kurt links up with John Arthur in the backrow, says neither him or his assistant realised the pedigree that strolled onto Lawson Park in New Lynn at the start of the season.

''John Arthur turned up wanting to play just socially but quickly showed that skill. He does the ball in one hand and gets the quick pass away.

''But it actually wasn't until a few weeks later someone told us he was Sonny Bill's brother. We had to laugh then.''

Neal says the backrow trio of John Arthur, Kurt and Cheung Muaiava will play an important role against Papatoetoe's vastly bigger forwards.

''Those three have really stepped up for us. Every week they give you what you want. Kurt will probably have to play the full 80 minutes while John Arthur and Cheung will get one rest each.''

NEW LYNN STAGS V PAPATOETOE PANTHERS

The Phelan Shield Grand Final kicks off at Mt Smart Stadium at 1pm.

More information can be found on the Auckland League website.

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