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 likelihood of Gareth Widdop returning to the NRL next season is strengthening, per a report from The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis.

According to Carayannis, the veteran’s management has shopped him to variety of NRL clubs recently, with the North Queensland Cowboys appearing to be the front runners to secure the Englishman’s services.

It is understood that Widdop is desperate to void his contract with Super League outfit Warrington and return down under for family reasons – something his current employer is sympathetic to.

Should the 31-year-old return to the NRL next season, his former club St. George Illawarra will have first rights to signing the former captain. However, it appears almost certain that Widdop will not be back at Kogarah.

Widdop has not garnered much attention from the majority of the 16 NRL clubs, with many baulking at the playmaker’s price tag.

The Cowboys find themselves in the box seat to sign Widdop due to their desire to replace the Newcastle bound Jake Clifford.

Carayannis has suggested that Widdop will be expected to take a pay-cut in the vicinity of 50 percent due to two years still remaining on his agreement with Warrington.

History may also repeat for the Cowboys if Widdop refuses any lesser offer, with Benji Marshall already rebuking North Queensland’s lowball offer.

It was only in August that Widdop publicly expressed to The Daily Telegraph that an Australian return was off the cards. Despite this, the Dragons did table a trade offer with Warrington to send Corey Norman north in return for Widdop. However, the deal broke down after neither Norman or the English franchise were interested.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Widdop should go back to the Dragons.
    The Dragons in order to make the deal release Ben Hunt to join the cowboys and agree to pay 60% of Hunts salary (700k) leaving the Cowboys to pay 500k.
    That’s frees up 500k for the dragons to sign Gareth Widdop with.

    Dragons get their man.
    Cowboys get Ben Hunt who might not sound as exciting but I think would serve as a better fit. Ben is experienced, a good organiser, has a great kicking game and can play either halfback or hooker. This would allow the cowboys to have either Drinkwater or Morgan play five-eight and have less stress and be allowed to play a more natural running game.

    Ben Hunt was born in Dingo, Queensland so it would be a happy home coming of sorts. Plus his combinations with Homles, Morgan, Drinkwater, Robson it would be nice.

  2. Agreed, Widdop still had a year to run on his contract with the Dragons. If he’s back in the NRL it’s Dragons or Dragons say/compensation. Hunt has one last chance under Griffin, fail again and he’s gone. Norman is also on his last chance. Fire or get fired!

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