during the round six NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Lottoland on April 8, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

Gareth Widdop may return to Melbourne


The Storm will look to sign former five-eighth Gareth Widdop if their bid to lure Kieran Foran to Melbourne fails.

With Cooper Cronk departing at the end of the season, the Storm are looking for a marquee signing to fill the gap in their halves.

According to the Sydney Morning HeraldMelbourne have identified Foran as their number one priority to replace Cronk. It won’t be an easy task, as Foran has been quite open though about his desire to return to Sydney to be closer to his young family.

The Warriors haven’t given up hope of re-signing Foran and keeping him New Zealand but with Shaun Johnson also off contract, the club has plenty to do and if push comes to shove, Johnson will take the priority.

With the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Newcastle Knights also rumoured to be keen on signing Foran for 2018, the Storm might find that distance from Sydney to be their biggest hurdle.

As such, the Storm have flagged Widdop as the next name on their list. Widdop’s St George Illawarra Dragons are currently sitting atop the NRL ladder and his form this season has been some of his best.

With Ben Hunt moving to St George Illawarra next season on a big money deal, the Dragons hope Widdop will re-sign and form a long-term halves partnership with him. But Hunt’s deal could also be the tipping point for Widdop to move elsewhere with the salary cap a constant juggle for clubs.

Already we’ve seen Hunt sign the Dragons, Jack Bird move to Brisbane and Mitchell Moses move to Parramatta for 2018.


28 COMMENTS

  1. Hope for foran goes to strom, with Bellamy wow. Wish manly could get him back but we have green who has been the worst buy of the year in my opinion. If I was coach I’d be after foz.

  2. Holmsey our probs are deeper than one player mate, Manly never ever put there eggs in one basket, in the past we turned copper into gold, with the current state of things coaching staff and overs on players we are no different to sides like sharks , dogs Tigers StG Bris and Newie , chasing glory with a cheque book ,

    • True we use to rely on young talent and develop players, now we seem to try to fix problems with cash. But with no young talent coming through we are in a hole.

    • What a tragedy if true. The article makes no reference as to the veracity of its claims so I’m hoping it’s nothing. Mind you, I’m a self-confessed previous Widdop knocker & feel pretty lousy right now – he has been nothing less than on fire this year.

  3. I can see this working pretty well. Jacks does the organising and Widdop does the fancier stuff. Bellamy already knows what Widdop brings to the table, Widdop knows the Bellamy way of doing things. After paying overs for Hunt, not sure how much the Dragons can offer Widdop.

    • What about Brodie Croft? If that kid can’t get a run teams like the Dogs and the Tigers should go plat out to get him. The kid is a talent and he killed in in the Nines earlier this year. He has a good kicking game and from mine he looked like he was a natural to take over from Cronk. If Slater plays on then Slater, Munster, Croft and Smith otherwise Munster, Jacks, Croft and Smith. The Storm just need to find a replacement hooker for Smith going forward. If Souths didn’t have Adam Reynolds I would be happy to see them go after Brodie Croft.

      Also, IF Widdop goes back to the Storm will that be the first player who has left the Storm to return? Also, I probably missed the story, but why is Foran looking to move back to an Australian based club when he just got to the Warriors? Everything looks good thus far with him fitting in to their structure. If the Warriors lose Johnson he could still make a good halves pairing with Lolohea.

        • Croft has a few raps on him. Melbourne has a history of developing star HBs – Kimmorley, Orford and Cronk weren’t exactly superstars when they went there, so if they’re true to form there’s every chance that Croft will turn out to be a good’un.
          Offhand, I can’t think of anyone who’s left Melb and gone back either except Chamberlain but going to RU wasn’t exactly what you had in mind. There might be others but Chamberlain is the only who readily comes to mind.
          Widdop’s wife is apparently from Bleak City so that might be an incentive to go back. I don’t blame Saints for not paying overs and let’s face it, his form last year didn’t exactly warrant megabucks.

        • That was my thought, once you leave Melbourne Storm you don’t go back! They have already found someone else to take your place. They have a successful and proven system and have build a side around the BIG 3 for some time now (throw in Munster and their spine is complete). Going forward they already seem to be building well to replace their 3 BIG stars post retirement.

          Widdop has been in good form this year but I still believe he is an “accidental half” (5/8 or HB). He is a FB/centre (which is where he started out) and he looked clueless at 5/8 in the Four Nations as well (but then it could have been the coach). Bahahahahahaha

        • have built… (late night, still on my first coffee!)

          Btw, another “accidental half” is Josh Reynolds who should go back to his original position of hooker IMO. You can’t manufacture halves! (Well, OK Cooper Cronk was a hooker before playing HB, but I would argue he was always a HB playing out of position!) 😉

        • Widdop has made a fair fist of 5/8 but coming off the back of a pack like Saints’ this year has certainly helped. IMO he’s a better 5/8 than Reynolds who’s a competitive little bugger, runs the ball OK (at this stage of the season, certainly better than last year) but doesn’t have the ball skills really needed of a 5/8.
          BTW, thanks for giving us McInnes – much appreciated.

        • “who’s a competitive little bugger”

          And he knows how to play the refs to get a penalty. In short he has ORIGIN written all over him (THAT has been QLD’s constant tactic since the concept began!)

          “thanks for giving us McInnes – much appreciated”

          Happy to see that old “Bucky Buck tooth” is working out for you. LOL McInnes is a hard worker and with his work rate he can also play at lock should a better option at hooker be found. IMO McInnes lacks flair and finesse and has no kicking game. The Dragons pack is helping to make the Dragons hooker and halves look better than I believe they are. But that is just my opinion. If it works then stick to “if it aint broke don’t fix it!”

        • Thanks for clearing that up pedro, I wasn’t too sure. So just the TWO then? Both left and returned via the revolving door between the Melbourne Storm and the Wigan Warriors it seems. 😉

      • Storm signed a young hooker from the cowboys to groom for when Smith retires. Foran wants to come back to be closer to his kids.

        • Which has nothing to do with my question/suggestion about Brodie Croft at HB… why am I even bothering. Mate I’m done. Cheers.

      • foz maybe wants to come back to Sydney cos as he is missing his best mate eddie, and to a lesser extent his kids. Also, he doesn’t get the same kind of treatment in Auckland as he does in Sydney, the tips aren’t as good and the ladies aren’t as free flowing.
        Just a thought.

        • “foz maybe wants to come back to Sydney cos as he is missing his best mate eddie”

          Another “little bird” told me the same thing… “47” times! 😉

      • Ryan Hoffman went to Wigan Warriors and then came back if that counts? That was more to relieve salary cap pressures for the year and then re-sign haha. I think it all comes down to if Slater is going to play again next year, if he does then 6.Munster and 7.Croft/Widdop. If Slater retires they have Munster FB, 6/7 Widdop and Croft/Jacks.

        • Good pickup re Hoffman. Yes, that counts. He left the Storm at the end of 2010 played for Wigan in 2011 and returned to the Storm in 2012. So “the Hoff” is the ONLY one then!

  4. I think B Smith is going to replace Cameron once he retires. I think halves should be Foran/Widdop at five eighth and Croft at halfback.

  5. Storm lineup 2018
    1 Munster
    2 Vunivalu
    3 Chambers
    4 Scott
    5 Addo-Carr
    6 Foran
    7 Croft
    8 Bromwich
    9 Smith
    10 Asofa- Solomona
    11 Kufusi
    12 Hess
    13 Finucane

    14 Bromwich
    15 Glasby
    16 Stimson
    17 Welch
    Front row backups
    Leuluai, Kamikamica, Galo
    Back backups
    Tonumapea, Blair, Olam, Hughes

    • Coen Hess and Kieran Foran are not going to the Melbourne Storm! I’d prefer to see Riley Jacks and Brody Croft in the halves with Cameron Munster. Riley Jacks has a left foot kicking game I think and I’d like to see him play at Hooker. I’d invite Billy Walters into five eighth from Easts Tigers

    • Cheers chopjas, thanks for clearing that up. So do we close the bidding at TWO players ONLY to have returned to the Storm? Going once, going twice, going three times… 😉

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