Bird Town rallies to support its Monstar in fight vs cancer
AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Bayside Ravens director of coaching and seniors head coach Ben Sinapati knows Seattle Seahawks star Jesse Williams well - and he believes he has the courage and determination to beat cancer.
The defensive tackle has been an inspiration after playing in the NFL pre-season, following surgery to remove a kidney after a shock Papillary Type 2 cancer diagnosis back in May.
"Tha Monstar" - a former Ravens player - impressed in those games, but is now on the Seahawks' non-football injury list on the sidelines.
It has been another case of rotten luck after knee injuries ruled him out of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, with the 147kg hulk now sidelined for at least the first six weeks of the season.
Despite his latest setback, Sinapati - who catches up with Williams when he returns to Brisbane, where he grew up - said his mate will bounce back from yet another setback.
"We don't know what he's been through, and we don't know what it's like to be in his shoes right now," Sinapati said.
"But we know that if anybody can conquer what he has to conquer, it'll be him.
"He's copped his fair share of bad luck for sure, but with all those setbacks he's never been one to feel sorry for himself, or lay down and die.
"If anything it's made him tougher and stronger, and more determined to achieve his goals."
Sinapati believes "Tha Monstar" is still the biggest influence at his club, despite not yet making his dream NFL debut, and despite former NRL star Jarryd Hayne's highly-talked about debut with San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday (AEST).
"There are a lot of people at our club who walk around with Monstar Strong T-shirts (supporting Williams's fight against cancer)," Sinapati said.
"What Jarryd's doing is definitely good for our game. In the last couple of weeks we've had a lot of new inquiries off the back of Jarryd Hayne.
"But I think here in Bird Town the bigger influence is still Jesse Williams, I guess because it's closer to home for us."
Last year when Williams was rehabilitating his knee on the sidelines, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told APN at a press conference he highly rated the Brisbane-raised power defender.
"He did really well when he was healthy and able. He's a great kid and he works really hard," Carroll said at the time.
"It's unfortunate that he's been banged up."
Sinapati has also seen just how good Williams is up close.
And he believes the possibilities are still endless for the 24-year-old former Alabama Crimson Tide college star.
"For somebody his size - his flexibility and speed, and the angles he can get his body into are very impressive," Sinapati said.
"He's got all the strength and power that anybody needs to perform at that level.
"He's got the full package.
"He's a very mobile interior lineman. It's no wonder the Seattle Seahawks want to keep him, because he's a special kind of player."