It is safe to say that David Rhys-Jones and Greg WIlliams don’t exchange Christmas cards.
Despite playing together at Carlton in 1992, bad blood existed between the two emanating from a 1989 game between the Swans and the Blues
During that contest, Williams landed a heavy blow on Rhys-Jones as the Carlton star was on the bottom of the pack. The shot broke his jaw and saw Williams suspended for five weeks. Rhys-Jones got off on two counts of striking Williams and was handed a suspended sentence for a third.
David Rhys-Jones is no angel. He holds the record for most reports, with 25, but in fairness, he was “only” found guilty 11 times for 22 weeks on the sidelines. He claims most of his onfield indiscretions were retaliatory, but for someone so willing to mix it up on the field, his resentment toward former opponent-cum-teammate, Greg Williams is a little strange.
On an episode of the excellent but discontinued Fox Footy interview show, Open Mike, Rhys-Jones opened up on Williams and his reasons for disliking him.
“The thing that disappointed me with Greg Williams, who was a great footballer, is that he’d snipe, but when it comes to a one-on-one he wasn’t too keen and whinged and moaned to the umpires. If you want to dish it out, you’ve got to go one-on-one at times, too.” –Rhys Jones
Williams recants the story of their 1989 altercation with a little more detail.
Diesel remembers wrestling with Craig Bradley on the ground when he felt a knee from behind. He atributes that knee, which broke a bone in his shoulder, to Rhys-Jones. In his estimation, the whack he gave to Rhys-Jones was a receipt from that incident earlier int eh quarter.
“Shoulder blades aren’t easy to break, but he (Rhys-Jones) did it.” – Williams
“He kneed me in the back on the ground from behind, and about a minute later there was a ball-up in the centre. Unlucky for Rhys, he grabbed the ball at the ball up, and I belted him back.” – Williams
Asked if he thought it was “an eye for an eye”, Williams replied “I just think it is. I’m sorry, but I did”
Whilst there is no footage available of the aftermath, Williams claims he went to the goal square following the incident and Rhys-Jones, who refused to go off to be treated, followed him. Williams states that Rhys-Jones then went at him again and Williams hit him in the jaw a second time.
“I knew I was going to miss about seven or eight weeks, and I wanted to make sure he missed about the same. I went looking for him” – Rhys-Jones
“He came at me again in the goal square and I did (hit him). I hit him in the jaw again and he went down because he was in a lot of pain.” – Williams
The two would later play together at Carlton for one season but they never mended that bridge.
“It wasn’t good. Rhys was really upset with it and that’s fair enough. I think I had a reason to hit him back and I did.” – Williams
Though things seem to have simmered over the years “It’s better now. I see Rhys now and again and I talk to him” but to this day, it doesn’t take much to stoke the embers of what is left between them to get the fire started again.
Whilst working at Essendon in 2017, Williams stated that he hoped the Bombers “kick the arse” of the Blues.
Rhys-Jones immediately took the bait, calling Williams’ words “treason” and adding “I hope all Carlton supporters read it as it shows what he is.” He also labelled Williams a “mercenary”.
Some wounds, and in this case, broken jaws, never quite heal.
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