Widdop commits stay on in NRL with Dragons

DREAM ALIVE: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop. Picture: AAP
DREAM ALIVE: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop. Picture: AAP

ST GEORGE Illawarra skipper Gareth Widdop has re-iterated his desire to play in the English Super League, but denies he’s had any discussions with the club about hastening the move.

Widdop also labeled suggestions he’d sought an immediate release as media speculation and offered a flat “no,” when asked if he’s received offers from any English clubs for the 2019 season or beyond.

“Obviously there was some speculation in the media that I wanted an immediate release which is totally not the case,” Widdop said.

“It’s all speculation, it’s come from the middle of nowhere.

“It’s disappointing when things get out in the media when it’s not true but it’s totally out of my control.

“It doesn’t just affect myself, I’m pretty good at letting things go, it’s the family that has to deal with all the crap that goes with it.

“It’s not ideal but, at the end of the day, it’s just speculation. That’s the media for you, these things get out and these things happen.

“It’s all been knocked on the head and I’m just ready to get through preseason and get the season started.”

That commitment is firm in regards to the 2019 season, but the final two years of his four-year contract remain up in the air. The English International has made no secret of his desire to play in the UK, but said there’s no time-frame on the move.

“It’s been spoken about a number of times that I’d like to go back and play at some point,” he said.

“The club understands that but there’s not been any in-depth discussion [about a release] or anything like that.

“It’d be great at some point in my career but when that’ll be I’m too sure. It could be [in] four-five years, who knows what’s going to go on.

“I’m here for this year, I’m committed to the Dragons and I’ve got a contract until 2021. That’s where we’re at, at the moment.”

It comes amid a wild off-season of player and coaching moves.

“There’s nothing else to speculate on and nothing else to talk about. I’m here in the middle of preseason and I’m getting ready for the [2019] season to start,” Widdop said. “… I understand my role with this team, being the captain and the leader, and my importance to this club.”