Widdop seeks release

Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by hewi, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Dragonslayer

    Dragonslayer First Grade

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    If we are going back over the topic of captain after Widdop leaves then my take, as it always has been, is that it will be either Friz or Mcinnes.
    You just need to take a look at who was anointed captain for the games Widdop missed last year to get your answer.
    James Graham, whilst he would definitely get the troops on their toes and the refs nervous, he is doubtful to even be playing in 2020.
    T. Sims, whilst I like his aggression etc, I'm not sure he's the McGregor type. I think he would have trouble following the standard line. Take McGregor out of the picture and then that's another story.
     
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  2. Frank Facer

    Frank Facer First Grade

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    Sims strikes me as a leader.
     
  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

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    Dragons 2019: Captain and coach on a mission in final season together
    Local Sport
    [​IMG]
    SAME PAGE: Gareth Widdop and Paul McGregor are committed to 2019. Picture: Adam McLean


    DRAGONS coach Paul McGregor has never had any reason to doubt Gareth Widdop’s commitment to the club and that hasn’t changed despite his skipper’s decision to depart at season’s end.

    In November Widdop was forced to hose down reports he had sought an immediate release to pursue a long-held dream of playing in the English Super League

    He assured fans that he was committed to the club for the 2019 season but his commitment to the remaining two years of his deal was left up in the air.

    The club put that uncertainty to rest on Wednesday, confirming it has granted Widdop a conditional release from the final two years of his deal on compassionate grounds.

    The release, that will allow the 29-year-old to link with former coach Steve Price at Warrington from 2020, stipulates that any return to the NRL will be with the Dragons.

    McGregor said the club had always kept an open dialogue with the English star and there was never any doubt that he would see out the 2019 season.

    “In my conversations with Gareth it was very clear that he was never going to let myself the club down,” McGregor said.

    “He was never, ever going to walk away from a contract until we found a suitable replacement and there was never any conversation around him not playing in 2019.

    “[The release] for 20-21 was always subject to Ian [Millward] finding a replacement for him. We’ve got an excellent relationship, he’s been my captain since Benny Creah [retired] and basically since I took over as coach. This year’s very important to both of us.”

    Widdop’s departure comes after the club secured the services of former Eels half Corey Norman on a three-year deal beginning this season.

    He’s tipped to feature at five-eighth with Widdop shifting to fullback, though Matt Dufty will have his sights set on keeping the No. 1 jumper he made his own in 2018.

    Norman only reported for duty a week ago while Widdop has been in rehab after off-season shoulder surgery. It leaves McGregor in no rush to decide on the final make-up of his spine come round one.

    “I’m very open-minded and having a real good look at the moment,” McGregor said.

    “There is still six weeks before we even trial so I’m not going to make a decision on something that’s still nine weeks away. There’s a lot that can happen in rugby league week to week and day to day.

    “The biggest thing is that players complement each other. We know our spine was successful at different stages last year. Corey adds another dimension to that.

    “They’re all quality and I’d rather be looking at them than looking for them. We’re very fortunate to have depth in important positions in the squad which we’ve never had before.”

    Having secured the compassionate release Widdop said he’s determined to repay the club in premiership gold before his time is up.

    “I've been here a long time now and to get to where we have with the roster we've got, to leave it all behind, especially being the captain, will be difficult,’ Widdop said.

    "I still have the 2019 season to come. The reason we play this game is to win premierships. We have the squad to win it this year and I'll be doing everything possible to achieve that."


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5853873/captain-and-coach-on-a-mission-in-2019/?cs=302
     
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  4. Gardenia

    Gardenia Juniors

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    I’ve seen Sims at signings and he definitely has leadership qualities.
     
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  5. Gardenia

    Gardenia Juniors

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  6. Crush

    Crush First Grade

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    Still yet to read anything that makes me think Widdop will move to fullback this year.
    Mary doesn't like change, I doubt he would make such a move.
    I'm still tipping Norman at fullback, he won't want to move Widdop from 6 especially when he is looking for a contract extension.
    You see Mary won't be thinking about 2020 and beyond until he has that contract and he will believe his best chance at winning most games in 2019 will be with Widdop at 6.
     
  7. SAP58

    SAP58 Juniors

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    Just thinking, I gather Lomax will be our goal kicker when Widdop leaves unless we sign someone else that can kick. It is certainly not Lafai who had some attempts last year. Does anyone know his career goal kicking stats ? Is he (or potentially) a 85-90% goal kicker which each team needs these days ? Maybe a new client for Daryl Halligan if he is still involved in training goal kickers.
     
  8. possm

    possm Coach

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    Crush, don't be surprised to learn later this year that Mary has already been told that this is his final season as head coach. Now he is coaching for a contract elsewhere and so results do matter.

    Because Widdop is moving on, the obvious decision is to move him to fullback and Norman to 6; the position he has been signed to occupy. Widdop was a different five-eight to what Norman will be. He faded in and out of games, sometimes brilliant, sometimes erratic. Never good at game management or closing out a close game. Norman will be all that Widdop was and a bit more providing he can keep on the straight and narrow.

    2019 will be the only season SGI will have Widdop, Norman and Hunt available to play on the field at the same time. I'm tipping this to be a big boost to our attack both in variety and try scoring ability. I'm sure Mary does understand this and at times over the past 4 years wa disappointed at times in Widdop's inability to manage a game and close out a close game.

    Widdop will be invaluable in 2019 as a senior player with heaps of experience, directing our backline in attack and defence from the back. Something we have not had since Dugan moved on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
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  9. grouch

    grouch First Grade

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    Prefer to let the new coach pick the captain but I'm a big fan of the Tyson idea
     
  10. blacksafake

    blacksafake Guest

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    Know something we don't know lol.
     
  11. grouch

    grouch First Grade

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    I just permanently operate under the assumption that McGregor will be sacked soon
     
  12. DragonJ

    DragonJ Juniors

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    Norman to 5/8 is a no-brainer. In the games I have seen him play against us over the last few years, he has hopelessly embarrassed Widdop. Two classes above.

    The only question is whether Widdop will be a better fullback than Dufty. Widdop not in the front line should result in many fewer line breaks against us. Look at the stats for missed tackles over the last few years across the entire competition. Not only total number but % of tackles missed. So already that would make Dufty a better fullback than last year as it would negate what is in my opinion, his second worst deficiency. (worst being the way he is manhandled when opposition get hold of him.)

    If both these new fast wingers work out, I would agree with you Widdop will be a slight improvement on Dufty. If as a lot of these experts are predicting/hoping, Pereira and Lomax are the wingers, Frizz and Sims better play wider in attacks because they will be the two fastest guys in the team. Even if only one of them works out, surely Dufty will be a better option at fullback or is one fast guy in the team enough?

    possm, the premiership window is open now! Tell Mcidiot to tell Widdop to GTFO now and spend that money on a fast outside back. Oates is only signed for one year. Give him Widdop's money to break his contract! Or get Johnston from Souffs and upgrade Lomax, Leilua and Robson immediately.
     
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  13. Gareth67

    Gareth67 Bench

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    Just one other thing that really makes me sick is the headlines in Foxsports NRL blaring out to all and sundry that ‘ Gareth gone ! Walks out of Dragons to join Super League “

    How bluudy misleading is the headline ? Those cretins will do and say anything to sensationalize a story , we knew that the man would be leaving at the end of season 2019 , however the way they have it displayed would undoubtedly give many the impression that he was gone , had already packed his bags and bought a family ticket back to the old dart .

    O.K. that is my whinge for the month , blame it on the heat , after all it is a stinking hot day ? :disappointed_relieved:
     
  14. ouryears

    ouryears Bench

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    Same here, I thought he had left now based on their headline
    Dirty rotten scoundrels
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

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    The Gareth Widdop gamble that could snare England-bound star elusive NRL title
    Dragons
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Gareth Widdop of the Dragons.Source: AAP
    Gareth Widdop appears set to switch positions in an effort to win an elusive NRL title with St George Illawarra before he leaves the club.

    Widdop announced he will leave the Dragons after the 2019 season and head back to his birth country England to play in the Super League from 2020.

    It means he has one more crack at winning a premiership for the club he moved to in 2014 and has spent five years at.


    Round 1
    But it looks like coach Paul McGregor plans to move Widdop, in a spine switch he hopes can unlock finals success.

    Foxsports.com.au understands Widdop has been training at fullback over the pre-season, and there’s a good chance he will don the No.1 come Round 1 of the season.


    [​IMG]
    Confirmed: Wolves sign Widdop

    0:31
    His move to the custodian role would push recruit Corey Norman to five-eighth, and leave young fullback Matt Dufty to fight it out for a spot in the outside backs or on the bench.

    Widdop has spent most of his 185-game NRL career in the halves, but played a handful of games at fullback for Melbourne in his early seasons. He has also filled the fullback role for England at international level, confirming he’s comfortable playing at the back.


    Likewise, Norman has spent most of his career in the halves but played fullback for Brisbane before heading south to join Parramatta.

    Norman and Widdop are similar players, in that they enjoy running the ball, and could fill either position.

    McGregor has previously stated his desire to have a ball-playing fullback who can set up tries. Dufty returned nine try assists in 2018, but there’s no doubting Widdop and Norman have more experience in the ball-playing role.

    It leaves Dufty in an intriguing position. There was rumours only a couple of months ago the 22-year-old was being shopped around by the Dragons.

    [​IMG]
    St George-Illawarra Dragons captain Gareth Widdop and head coach Paul McGregor.Source: AAP
    The club denied the scuttlebutt, but it remains to be seen where the speedy fullback fits in the club’s plans for 2019.

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...e/news-story/8b6a52f3c5e85992b4086447f72041cd
     
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  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

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    Dragons silent on Widdop 'Brexit' strategy

    The Dragons need to finalise their Gareth Widdop exit – i.e. Brexit – strategy now that the St George Illawarra skipper and five-eighth has finalised his own plan to quit the Dragons at the end of the 2019 season.

    His plan is to return to his native England and join former Dragons coach Steve Price at Super League side Warrington Wolves. Widdop has signed a three-year deal with Warrington and will link up with them for the 2020 Super League campaign which will possibly see out his career, if he does not get sick of the weather in England.

    Widdop, a premiership winner with the Storm, said “The reason we play this game is to win premierships. We have the squad to win it this year and I’ll be doing everything possible to achieve that.”

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    Dragons coach Paul McGregor has remained silent on Widdop’s move until now. McGregor is expected to use Widdop’s send off this year as part of his motivational strategy.

    [​IMG]
    Gareth Widdop of the Dragons. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    Corey Norman clearly also forms a vital part of the Dragons plan for the year, but once again coach McGregor has been silent as to how he intends to use Norman in the team.

    It is widely expected that Norman will take Widdop’s place in the Dragons team at five-eighth with Widdop moving to fullback – a position he has played for England.

    All this leaves the Dragons exciting but defensively challenged incumbent fullback Matt Dufty who played virtually all of 2018 without an obvious spot in the team.

    The Dragons have allowed 29-year-old Widdop to walk away from the final two years of his contract on compassionate grounds, but the Dragons have been silent on whether they sought or agreed any player swap with Warrington for the early release.


    Advertisement
    Under the terms of the release, the Halifax-raised five-eighth Widdop must play for the Dragons if he were to return to the NRL.

    This same condition has worked to the Dragons benefit already with the 2019 season return of ex-Dragons centre Charly Runciman with Runciman having been ever present in an injury-depleted Widnes Vikings squad for the past two seasons.

    Runciman adds to a large number of Dragons squad members vying for the wing and centre positions in the Dragons backline, although once again coach McGregor has been silent on the matter.

    Barring injuries my expected Dragons team for Round 1 is:
    1. Gareth Widdop
    2. Matt Dufty
    3. Euan Aitken
    4. Tim Lafai (main challengers Zac Lomax, Charly Runciman)
    5. Jordan Pereira (main challengers Jonus Pearson, Mikaela Ravalawa)
    6. Corey Norman
    7. Ben Hunt
    8. James Graham
    9. Cameron McInnes
    10. Paul Vaughan
    11. Tyson Frizell
    12. Tariq Sims
    13. Jack de Belin (Possible replacement if/when suspended Jacob Host)
    14. Korbin Sims
    15. Luciano Leilua
    16. Jeremy Latimore
    17. Blake Lawrie

    The Dragons play two tough trials against the Knights and Rabbitohs where their strategy will be put to the test.

    https://www.theroar.com.au/2019/01/17/dragons-silent-on-widdop-brexit-strategy/
     
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  17. Drag Queen

    Drag Queen Bench

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    I guess so Jimmy.
     
  18. dragonssamy61

    dragonssamy61 First Grade

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    He will be Capt
     
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  19. Crush

    Crush First Grade

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    Ofcourse he will, he is Mary's choice and while ever he is coach Widdop is captain.
     
  20. dragonssamy61

    dragonssamy61 First Grade

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    Yeap
     
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