SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 11: Gareth Widdop of the Dragons looks dejected during the round 14 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on June 11, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The St George Illawarra Dragons and Gareth Widdop have responded to recent speculation that the star five-eighth is seeking a release from his contact.

In a statement on the club website, the Dragons have confirmed Widdop has not requested a release from his playing contract and has committed himself to the club for the 2019 season.

However, the club has also confirmed that Widdop has a long-held desire to finish his career in the English Super League, and is considering a potential return to his country of birth in the coming years.

“I want to put to bed that I haven’t asked a release for 2019. To all the members, fans and the little kids out there, I understand my importance to this team and my position as the captain and leader of this club. I will be here in 2019 and can’t wait for the season to start,” Widdop said.

“There’s no secret I have aspirations of going over to the UK and playing. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I have a good relationship with the club and so when the time is right we’ll work together.”

The Dragons met with Widdop today to further discuss his future at the club.

“The club has been in discussions with Gareth for a number of weeks concerning his future at the Dragons,” Director of Rugby League Pathways and List Management Ian Millward said.

“We understand his circumstances and he understands ours, and this is something we plan on working through together.”

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