How mum’s tough love helped create a Giant
He was a country lad who suffered terrible homesickness so his mother did something he has never forgotten - she made him leave home.
And almost eight years later Zac Williams said it was the making of him as an AFL player.
"Mum and I, we still talk about it," said the athletic Narrandera talent and Giants Academy product.
"I had been to boarding school in Albury at 16 but got so home sick I came home.
"I'm a real mamma's boy. That played a big part in me not being able to stay at boarding school.
"Mum knew it would be tough but she knew if she didn't kick me out of the house it might not have worked out for me in AFL. She put her foot down and made me go.
"Now she's missing me. She wants to come up to Sydney all the time. It's great."
Now based in Drummoyne in Sydney's inner west, former Narrandera Eagles junior Williams said his mother Joy O'Hara and sister Samantha, six years older than him, were his world after the death of his father Steven when he was six.
I hope they (local AFL playing kids) see us doing this and realise they can to
The 25-year-old said his mothers resilience as a single mother raising two children is something that has inspired him and something he has learned from.
"It was quite tough mum telling me I couldn't come home and I had to make the most of my opportunities," said Williams, introduced to the sport at an Auskick session by his father.
"It's been an amazing journey. She has been so strong. She had to be being a single mum with two kids.
"She is so resilient and that has rubbed off on me.
"She is a strong figure in my life. I talk or text to her every day. I had to teach her to text because I don't like talking on the phone all the time."
Due to a niggle, Williams, the first Giants Academy graduate to play senior AFL when he made his debut in 2013, will be absent when the Giants hit Wagga on Sunday for a blockbuster Marsh Community Series Grand Final rematch with Richmond.
It was to have been a homecoming for Williams whose clubmates include former Wagga Wagga resident Harry Himmelberg and fellow Riverina player Jacob Hopper (Leeton), Matt Flynn (Narrandera), Jeremy Finlayson (Culcairn), Harry Perryman (Collingullie) and Zach Sproule (Albury).