http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24462812-5012431,00.html Eagles fight to keep David 'Wolfman' Williams from the door Font Size: Decrease Increase Print Page: Print Stuart Honeysett and Margie McDonald | October 08, 2008 FOLLOWING his selection yesterday in the Australian World Cup team, NRL premier Manly is facing a battle to retain cult hero David Williams when he comes off contract at the end of 2009. The 22-year-old winger capped a remarkable season yesterday when he was selected in Australia's 24-man World Cup squad. The "Wolfman" is one of six of Manly's grand final heroes chosen in the side. Williams was recruited this season from the Hills District club in the Parramatta junior competition on a $55,000 minimum-wage contract plus match payments. However, following his Australian selection, Williams's price tag is set to triple. Manly has four other players off contract at the end of next season, three-try grand final winger Michael Robertson, halfback Matt Orford and forwards Heath L'Estrange and Glenn Hall. Given the club has re-signed winger Michael Bani and recruited Parramatta's Tony Williams until the end of 2011, it is unlikely the Sea Eagles will be able to retain both David Williams and Robertson. Working in Williams' favour is that the club perceives him as a possible replacement for departing centre Steve Bell, while Tony Williams could finish up in the forwards. Manly chief executive Grant Mayer admitted there were challenging times ahead for the club. "Success at any NRL club creates complexities around the retention of the existing playing squad," he said. "We haven't discussed the retention of players beyond 2009 but I would suggest that would be one of (coach) Des Hasler's priorities in the very near future." Williams just wants to continue celebrating Manly's premiership but is doing so without his trademark beard. During a drunken night of celebrations on Monday night, Williams was set upon by several team-mates, including Robertson. "We got all the boys around, had a beer and just sheared him like a sheep," said Anthony Watmough, who joins Williams in the Kangaroos squad. "Robbo grabbed him and told him he could get it done happily or forcefully. He just accepted it." Williams was a little hazy on the details yesterday, although he had several cuts under his chin as a reminder. "Have a look at this. Fair dinkum, he nearly took my neck off," the 22-year-old said. "I was comatose and can't remember it. I have a few beverage companies to thank for that. "Hopefully the Samson effect doesn't have any effect in the next couple of weeks. We'll just take is as it comes I suppose. I'm not too worried about it." It has been quite a ride for Williams, the former Hills Bulls junior who could not even crack a first grade spot at Parramatta last season. But Manly recruitment officer Noel Cleal recognised his potential and ensured coach Des Hasler knew about it. "He had a lot of injuries in the lower grades at Parramatta and was never able to string too many consecutive games together," Manly football manager Steve Gigg said. "But Noel was dead-set certain that he was an NRL player." Williams remembers the dark days all too well. "It was Manly or back at the Hills -- nothing against Hills because I love the boys there but park footy or Manly -- it was no choice," Williams said yesterday. The announcement of six Manly players in the Kangaroos squad, including the four debutants, Williams, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart and Josh Perry, sent the ongoing rooftop party at the players' rented beachside apartment into raptures. The Stewarts, Brett and Glenn, are the first brothers in an Australian squad since Andrew and Matthew Johns in 1995. Another with much to celebrate was prop Josh Perry, who was cut by Newcastle coach Brian Smith at the end of 2007. Asked if he had anything to say to Smith, Perry replied: "Not at all. It's all water under the bridge." Williams is also chuffed about his Wolfman nickname although he can't remember the origin of it. "It only came when I came to Manly and I'm not sure if it started in the crowd or with the boys," he said. "It's something to relish. I'm fine with it." He also has a tattoo of it on the top of his right foot. Maybe a kangaroo on the left foot might be appropriate.