Gareth Widdop asks for release from St George Illawarra Dragons with three years left on multi-million dollar deal


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Widdop is just one season into his new halves mixture with Ben Hunt however already it has paid dividends, the pair steering the Dragons into the second week of the finals. Their partnership is predicted to get higher with expertise, though the most recent improvement might imply they’ve performed collectively for the final time.

Hard to replace: If Widdop leaves the Dragons it will leave a gaping hole in the Red V's roster.

Laborious to exchange: If Widdop leaves the Dragons it is going to go away a gaping gap within the Purple V’s roster.Credit score:Adam McLean

The Dragons are solely simply getting over the shock of getting to place a line by means of predominant recruitment goal, Jarryd Hayne. The 2-time Dally M medallist was on the membership’s radar till he was charged with aggravated sexual assault. It means a backline already lacking the retired Jason Nightingale and Cowboys signing Nene Macdonald is a minimum of a marquee man quick.

With Hayne out of the image, the Dragons now face the prospect of additionally having to half firm with arguably their most precious participant. It’s understood a number of Tremendous Leagues golf equipment – Huddersfield amongst them – are watching the scenario with curiosity.

Widdop grew up in Yorkshire, made his title on the Melbourne Storm and is without doubt one of the first picked in Wayne Bennett’s England workforce. The 29-year-old has beforehand thought-about transferring again to the UK to complete his profession, however that is the primary event he has utilized for a launch.


Widdop isn’t the one key Dragon with a clouded future. Coach Paul McGregor can be off contract on the finish of subsequent season, with powerbrokers to attend to see how the aspect begins its marketing campaign earlier than deciding whether or not to supply him an extension. NSW ahead Tariq Sims can be off contract, though he’s anticipated to recommit to the membership.

Widdop might not be the one marquee half on the transfer. Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson, already advised he gained’t be supplied a brand new deal as soon as his present one expires, has reportedly requested for a launch from the ultimate yr of his contract.

It’s understood the Warriors aren’t budging at current however they too face the conundrum of getting a star participant who doesn’t need to be there. If Johnson is granted a launch, it might immediate the Dragons to extra favourably contemplate Widdop’s software if the Kiwis No.7 is ready to shift to the Sydney outfit.

Johnson took to social media on Tuesday to stipulate his place.

“I assumed it is best I clear a pair issues up concerning my scenario at this stage with the Warriors,” Johnson wrote. “Firstly, there isn’t any contract for me to signal previous 2019.

“Secondly for those who noticed the article that got here out a number of weeks again … they stated they’re in no rush to re-sign me. Since then they’ve advised me once more at this stage they (will not) offer me something.

“Meaning I get to unfold my wings and see what’s on the market so proper now that is what I am doing!”.

The most recent developments come only a day after David Klemmer was launched from Canterbury to hitch Newcastle, whereas the Roosters releasing Dylan Napa to hitch the Bulldogs.

Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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