SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 13: Gareth Widdop of the Dragons looks on during the round 10 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on May 13, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

North Queensland coach Todd Payten has put a line through a move for former Dragons and Storm five-eighth Gareth Widdop.

The 31-year-old is hoping to return to the NRL, with his wife and kids currently living in Australia.

The Englishman is one of the highest paid players in the Super League and has put himself on the market for Aussie clubs at a reduced price.

Widdop was linked to the Cowboys after Jake Clifford signed a deal with Newcastle for the 2022 season, with Payten revealing a move for the Warrington veteran remains unlikely.

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 17: Jake Clifford of the Cowboys scores a try during the NRL trial match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Wests Tigers at Barlow Park on February 17, 2018 in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

“Jake and Gareth are managed by the same manager and once we were notified that Jake had signed with the Knights there was a throwaway line at the end of that conversation, around if Gareth wants to come home would you be interested?,” Payten told the Sky’s Big Sports Breakfast.

“That’s all it was, nothing more than that.

“Our answer was we’re happy with Jake for the next 12 months and hopefully we get him going.

“I was really dumbfounded how that made the press from that one sentence.”