Grand final heartbreak for Victory star
STAR Melbourne Victory defender Rhys Williams has made the heartbreaking decision to rule himself out of Saturday's A-League grand final against Newcastle Jets with a calf injury.
Teen winger Christian Theoharous is also in doubt after a crude late challenge from Sydney FC's Luke Wilkshire left him with strained ankle ligaments.
Theoharous was still struggling on Monday, spotted wearing a moon boot, and he will be assessed later in the week before a call is made about whether he starts on the bench.
Williams admitted for a split second he thought it might be his troublesome Achilles, which probably would've spelled the end of his career, before realising it was far less serious.
He revealed that physios told him he could play with an injection upon asking if there was any chance of getting him up, but opted to rule himself out after dialogue with Victory's conditioning unit.
Coach Kevin Muscat told Williams he'd be involved in preparations.
"It's the first thing I asked, 'is there any way I can play?' They said I can have an injection to take away the pain, but it'll take away the power,'' Williams said.
"I had a chat with the coaching and medical staff before deciding to rule myself out. I didn't want to let the team down, needing to come off after five minutes if something goes wrong - it makes it easier for the team and the players to prepare.
"I would've run the risk of hurting other things and it was the same side as Achilles (which he tore twice), it was too much of a risk."
Williams tweaked his calf less just 15 minutes before kick-off in last Saturday's semi-final win over Sydney FC, while warming up.
The Fox Sports footage showed him sharply turning after a pass, evoking memories of his horror Achilles tears for Middlesbrough, which ruled him out of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Asian Cup for the Socceroos.
While his A-League form has been superb, Williams' latest injury kills off any hopes of a late call-up for Russia 2018.
"It was a similar feeling to the achilles - I looked behind me, I thought someone in the crowd chucked a rock at me,'' he said.
"I soon realised it wasn't as it was higher. If it was the Achilles I would've been in tears.
"To miss the final hurts but there's people worse off and I've had worse injuries. It's 3-4 weeks, which is nothing for me.
"I came to terms with it straight away."