Infotainment Factory: Joey warns Dragons over Widdop mistake

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Saturday, 9 February 2019

Joey warns Dragons over Widdop mistake


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Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has warned the Dragons against the gamble of playing star five-eighth Gareth Widdop at fullback.

Wide World of Sports’ The Mole revealed the surprise plan in December and Dragons recruit Corey Norman has just said that he expects to share fullback/five-eighth duties with Widdop this season. Norman told NRL.com that both he and Widdop had nominated No.6 as their preferred position, with each player having evolved after playing No.1 earlier in their careers.

Johns said that St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor should think twice about disrupting Widdop’s game, given he’s established himself as a top five-eighth.

“It’s interesting how him and Corey Norman fit into the team, how that changes the way they attack with Widdop at fullback,” Johns told Wide World of Sports.

“He nearly won the Dally M (in 2017), he was on fire during last year. I don’t know if I’d move him to fullback. I think I’d keep him at six.”

That would leave Norman to pick up the bulk of the fullback duties, with young flyer Matt Dufty apparently on the outer.

While Widdop is hoping to finish on a high note with the Dragons before taking up a Super League deal with Warrington next season, Norman is trying to revive his career after being released by Parramatta.

“I remember seeing him come through the grades at Brisbane as a young five-eighth/fullback. I thought, ‘This young bloke’s destined for the top’,” Johns said of Norman.

“But he lost his way a little bit last year and on the back of Parramatta, they had such an awful season.

“I think a new club will revitalise him; maybe getting out of Sydney, too, moving down to Wollongong. Without a doubt, he’s got the talent and the potential.”

The other key cog in the Dragons’ attack is rep halfback Ben Hunt, who is still trying to consistently live up to his $1 million per season price tag.

Johns said that Hunt’s form had nosedived after a tough experience in State of Origin last season, which led to another Dragons fade-out (the club finished seventh, before exiting in the second week of the finals).

“The first 12 rounds last season, he was the best player in the competition,” John said.

“I don’t know what happens to the Dragons; I don’t think they know what happens. They fall in a heap towards the end of the year.

“He {Hunt} copped so much criticism after the second Origin; I’m sure he’d like to have those plays again. I think it really affected him.

“I hope he comes back and plays well, because I love watching him play. I think he’ll have a big year.”

Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has warned the Dragons against the gamble of playing star five-eighth Gareth Widdop at fullback.

Wide World of Sports’ The Mole revealed the surprise plan in December and Dragons recruit Corey Norman has just said that he expects to share fullback/five-eighth duties with Widdop this season. Norman told NRL.com that both he and Widdop had nominated No.6 as their preferred position, with each player having evolved after playing No.1 earlier in their careers.

Johns said that St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor should think twice about disrupting Widdop’s game, given he’s established himself as a top five-eighth.

“It’s interesting how him and Corey Norman fit into the team, how that changes the way they attack with Widdop at fullback,” Johns told Wide World of Sports.

“He nearly won the Dally M (in 2017), he was on fire during last year. I don’t know if I’d move him to fullback. I think I’d keep him at six.”

That would leave Norman to pick up the bulk of the fullback duties, with young flyer Matt Dufty apparently on the outer.

While Widdop is hoping to finish on a high note with the Dragons before taking up a Super League deal with Warrington next season, Norman is trying to revive his career after being released by Parramatta.

“I remember seeing him come through the grades at Brisbane as a young five-eighth/fullback. I thought, ‘This young bloke’s destined for the top’,” Johns said of Norman.

“But he lost his way a little bit last year and on the back of Parramatta, they had such an awful season.

“I think a new club will revitalise him; maybe getting out of Sydney, too, moving down to Wollongong. Without a doubt, he’s got the talent and the potential.”

The other key cog in the Dragons’ attack is rep halfback Ben Hunt, who is still trying to consistently live up to his $1 million per season price tag.

Johns said that Hunt’s form had nosedived after a tough experience in State of Origin last season, which led to another Dragons fade-out (the club finished seventh, before exiting in the second week of the finals).

“The first 12 rounds last season, he was the best player in the competition,” John said.

“I don’t know what happens to the Dragons; I don’t think they know what happens. They fall in a heap towards the end of the year.

“He {Hunt} copped so much criticism after the second Origin; I’m sure he’d like to have those plays again. I think it really affected him.

“I hope he comes back and plays well, because I love watching him play. I think he’ll have a big year.”

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