Widdop hoping for good news on bushfires

Gareth Widdop has returned to England to take up a three-year stint with Super Leaguers Warrington.
Gareth Widdop has returned to England to take up a three-year stint with Super Leaguers Warrington.

Gareth Widdop says has one eye on the bushfires back in Australia as he comes to terms with a freak training injury that will put a hold on his Super League debut.

The 30-year-old halfback arrived in England with his wife and three children just over a week ago to take up a three-year contract with Warrington.

Widdop has spent the last decade plying his trade in the NRL with Melbourne and St George Illawarra and he is hoping for good news soon about the fires that have caused untold damage to the south-east coast of Australia.

"It was pretty scary and I'm still pretty worried because it was quite close to where I live down the south coast," the England international said at the Wolves' pre-season media day.

"A couple of weeks before we moved out, we weren't really allowed to get out and about.

"The smoke was horrendous and it seems to not be easing up. It's only 20 minutes, half-an-hour, from where I live.

"I've got a few friends and family down the south coast who have been affected in Ulladulla. It's quite scary, so hopefully we can get some rain and it will stop."

The Halifax-born Widdop is the latest marquee signing for Super League but his eagerly-awaited debut for Warrington will be delayed for around a month after he rolled an ankle in training.

"It's a minor setback," said Widdop, who wore a moon boot at the media day. "It was just one of those accidents in training.

"There was nothing in it but unfortunately it did a bit of damage. It could have happened to anyone. I knew I had injured myself at the time because I couldn't finish training.

"It's part and parcel of the game, these things happen.

"It's not ideal but I'm just going to crack on with my rehab and try and get back as soon as possible."

Warrington's Australian coach Steve Price, whose side kick off the 2020 campaign with a home game against 2018 champions Wigan on January 30, says Widdop, who endured a string of shoulder injuries during his time with the Dragons, could miss the opening three or four rounds.

Australian Associated Press