English Test star Gareth Widdop is rumoured to be the man Leeds are looking at to replace Rugby-bound club stalwart, Kevin Sinfield for 2016.
Sinfield will be departing Leeds at seasons end to see out his career in Rugby Union. Meanwhile Widdop, despite being contracted to the St.George-Illawarra Dragons until the end of 2017, is rumoured to be unhappy and is looking to leave the club.
Widdop was born in Halifax, then at the age of 16 he moved to Melbourne with his family, where Widdop played for the Altona Roosters before signing with the Mebourne Storm.
While playing for the Storm’s lower grade side in 2010, Widdop earned a shock Test selection for England against France. Interestingly, in that game he replaced Sinfield and went on to score a try with his first touch and kicked 2 goals.
Leeds CEO Gary Hetherington was reportedly in Australia earlier this year for family matters and apparently made contact with Widdop about a return to England. When asked about Leeds’ link with Widdop, Hetherington stated “We certainly don’t talk about what we may or may not be doing…we only announce it when it’s done.”
Assisting the Rhino’s in their pursuit of Widdop is the Dragons salary cap crisis, which is reportedly going to take over a year to rectify.
Leeds will also have the cash freed up by Sinfield’s departure to entice Widdop with, and given the strength of the pound, the Rhino’s could be in a position to offer Widdop a contract that dwarfs his current arrangement with the Dragons.