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Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:39 am  

Gaz3376 wrote:
Gaz3376 Strong-running second rower
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Telegraph are reporting Widdop to return to Dragons next year to replace Norman.

Plans are in place for former skipper Gareth Widdop to make a shock St George Illawarra homecoming just 12 months after leaving the club in a mooted player swap with out of favour five-eighth Corey Norman.

Widdop has reached out to Dragons officials in recent weeks flagging the potential of returning to the club next season because of personal reasons just one year into a four year deal at Warrington.

That has paved the way for the Dragons to off-load Norman in a direct player swap with the English club coached by ex-St George Illawarra mentor Steve Price.

Widdop was released from the final two years of his Dragons contract worth about $1.8 at the end of last year. As part of the early exit, St George Illawarra received first rights on Widdop’s services should the 31-year-old opt to return to Australia. It seems that move could happen sooner than either party envisaged.

Widdop is expected to explore other options in Australia if the Dragons are unable to move on Norman. It is understood Warrington are lukewarm to the proposal.

Norman has dramatically fallen out of favour with the Dragons. Just 12 months after making his Origin debut for Queensland he was sensationally axed in favour of rookie half Adam Clune by Dragons coach Paul McGregor ahead of the club’s must-win game against the Roosters on Thursday.
News Corp has learnt discussions about the player swap have ramped up in the past couple of days. St George Illawarra have offered Norman to rival NRL clubs in recent weeks but there has been little interest in taking up the final year of his $850,000 contract.

England looms as the only option for the 29-year-old to secure a long-term deal and Warrington – who signed Greg Inglis from next season – have Widdop’s contract money available.

Widdop and Norman share the same manager. Widdop captained the Dragons up until last season where he made it known he wanted to pursue a dream of playing in England while still in his prime. His final season was plagued by an ongoing shoulder injury restricting him to just 10 matches. Norman, who joined the club last season after being released by Parramatta, played his 200th top grade game in St George Illawarra’s last-start loss to South Sydney.

The Dragons could also lose boom young winger Jason Saab at season’s end after his manager and the club met on Tuesday. St George Illawarra will give the 19-year-old permission to negotiate with rival clubs with the likes of Manly, Wests Tigers and Canterbury set to make a play. The Dragons are seeking a player in return.

Saab is contracted until the end of 2022 but has agitated for a release on multiple occasions this year. The club denied him a mid-season exit. Saab has grown tired of the commute from Merrylands to Wollongong for training and wants to move to a club closer to the family home.

He has made four NRL appearances this year but has been overlooked for a wing spot to play the Roosters behind Mikaele Ravalawa and Jordan Pereira.

The Dragons have Euan Aitken, Jack de Belin, Jacob Host and Tristan Sailor off-contract at season’s end.

In-form centre Zac Lomax said the team understands their season is all but on the line on Thursday.

“We’re aware that we need to perform from now on in,” Lomax said. “We need to perform in each game, but there’s a little bit more we’re playing for right now. We can’t afford to lose many more games at the moment. We’ve been able to put together a good 40, or a good 30, but we’ve got to put the whole game together, a full 80 minutes, if we’re going to match it with these good teams.”

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...n ... 37de867857
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:47 am  

Alffi_7 wrote:
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I bet we're luke warm at the proposal!

Doesn't sound good if it's true Widdop has approached St George, if that's the case I doubt he will be around long. Wouldn't want Norman in a swap deal though, from what I've seen of him he looks clueless.
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:57 am  

Gaz3376 wrote:
Gaz3376 Strong-running second rower
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Alffi_7 wrote:
I bet we're luke warm at the proposal!

Doesn't sound good if it's true Widdop has approached St George, if that's the case I doubt he will be around long. Wouldn't want Norman in a swap deal though, from what I've seen of him he looks clueless.


I'd like us to invest the money assembling a pack, and play Ratchford in the halves with Austin, playing Ashton at FB.
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:17 am  

Or thane wrote:
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Gaz3376 wrote:
I'd like us to invest the money assembling a pack, and play Ratchford in the halves with Austin, playing Ashton at FB.

Yeah i'd rather go with this, it would free up a good amount of money for us if he goes. Only the end of this season will tell us if we'll be gutted he goes or not, i'm honestly nit fussed if he goes to be honest.
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:25 am  

rubber duckie User avatar
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Gaz3376 wrote:
I'd like us to invest the money assembling a pack, and play Ratchford in the halves with Austin, playing Ashton at FB.

Cant give you an argument.
once a wire always a wire
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:41 am  

Longbarn Wire User avatar
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From what i'm hearing, there is a fair bit of truth in it....Id go with the above though. offload Widdop end of the year, Aston FB, Ratch to 6. Spend it on a proper sh1thouse prop and a 2nd rower to fill BMM shoes.
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:42 am  

User avatarAsgardian13 wrote:
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rubber duckie wrote:
Cant give you an argument.


Here's the argument: Ratchford is comfortable as the extra play maker at fullback. He had never thrived in the halves, not going to happen now.
Waiting for the 2021 RLWC
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:45 am  

karetaker wrote:
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Agree with all of the above except I’d tell Widdop to do one now if he as approached the Dragons himself already.
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:39 pm  

Alffi_7 wrote:
Alffi_7 Free-scoring winger
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karetaker wrote:
Agree with all of the above except I’d tell Widdop to do one now if he as approached the Dragons himself already.


Well, we don't know whether he spoke to us first before he approached St George, we shouldn't cut our noses off to spite our face here if we can have him to the end of the year we should, unless there is an opportunity to replace him, for example, would Cas entertain a cash bid for Trueman given the current situation?

I've been critical of Ratchford in the halves before, but thought he looked better at the start of this year, plus it would solve the Matty Ashton conundrum and free up money for a front line prop / back row as Longbarn mentioned. Getting a bit fed up of signing marquee halves only for them to disappear a year later - stick with what we have in Ratchford or sign British would be my preference.
Re: Widdop back to NRL? Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:41 pm  

karetaker wrote:
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Alffi_7 wrote:
Well, we don't know whether he spoke to us first before he approached St George, we shouldn't cut our noses off to spite our face here if we can have him to the end of the year we should, unless there is an opportunity to replace him, for example, would Cas entertain a cash bid for Trueman given the current situation?

I've been critical of Ratchford in the halves before, but thought he looked better at the start of this year, plus it would solve the Matty Ashton conundrum and free up money for a front line prop / back row as Longbarn mentioned. Getting a bit fed up of signing marquee halves only for them to disappear a year later - stick with what we have in Ratchford or sign British would be my preference.


It’s why I said IF
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