Meet the former roommates clashing for Championship promotion

The friendship of Australian duo Cameron Burgess and Ryan Williams will be put on hold for 180 minutes when their clubs do battle for promotion in the League One playoffs this weekend.

William’s Rotherham and Burgess’ Scunthorpe United meet this Saturday (AEST) in the first leg, before the second leg takes place next Thursday. The winner advances to Wembley with a place in the Championship, worth around $12 million, up for grabs.

Williams and Burgess both hail from Perth, both came through junior club ECU Joondalup and spent time together on the books of Fulham. The pair have also played together for Australia’s Under-23s and were roommates while on Olyroos duty.

Now they are foes at clubs situated just 56 kilometres apart in Yorkshire.

“It’s crazy. We’ve both left home and ended up pretty much at the same spot,” Burgess told The World Game.

“Ryan’s a couple of years older than me. When I first signed over here he’d just signed for Fulham as well. Our families are quite good friends as well.

“My cousin is very good friends with his twin brother Aryn and obviously we’ve been away on a few Aussie camps together, so we’ve become pretty good friends. We’ve crossed paths quite a few times.

“That’s the big prize at the end – trying to get that Championship spot. That would be massive for both teams.

“If we can get there it would be amazing, I think all the boys deserve it for the way we’ve gone about things this season, so hopefully we can do it.”

The defender and Williams shared a coffee earlier this week with Burgess living in nearby Doncaster. Both are confident of their team’s chances over the two legs.

“We had a little catch up this week,” the 22-year-old said.

“We’ve had a bit of banter, we were just saying how they beat us twice this season, I was trying to put it on them that they would be disappointed if they don’t get a win. But I think we’re both quietly confident to be fair.

“It should be an exciting game. If them lot do it (win) and we don’t it will be - I’ll congratulate them - but I might be a bit jealous to be fair. But it’s got to be us because I can’t have Ryan going on about it. It will have to be us I’m afraid.”

Rotherham, who were relegated from the Championship last year, finished in fourth spot while Scunthorpe finished fifth with only five points separating them on the League One ladder. Williams, the younger brother of Melbourne Victory defender Rhys, has been a key figure for the Millers since joining from Barnsley.

The 24-year-old has scored four goals and notched seven assists in 44 games this season.

“I’m probably best suited to know what Ryan can do,” Burgess admits.

“Hopefully I can let them know what he’s good at. Ryan’s a great player and he’ll be one of the players we need to look at to stop them getting some good attacks.”

Burgess signed for the Iron last June after loan spells with Bury, Oldham Athletic and Cheltenham Town. The former Young Socceroo and Olyroo, who has made 32 appearances, scoring two goals, in all competitions in the 2017-2018 campaign, is enjoying his time at Glanford Park.

“It’s been good,” he said.

“We’re in a situation where the end goal is in sight, so I think if we’re still in with a chance to get that promotion, which is what we were speaking about at the start of the season and one of the reasons why I joined the club, that’s exactly where I want to be.

“I wanted to be in the Championship and if we can get there in my first season that would be fantastic.”

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4 min read
Published 11 May 2018 at 3:28pm
By John Davidson