Warrington Wolves’ marquee signing took to the field to make his Super League debut on Sunday against Wakefield.
But Gareth Widdop could not help the Wolves avoid an 18-8 surprise defeat. With the wind swirling and the pitch getting increasingly heavy as the game wore on, the former St George Illawarra playmaker could not hide his shock at the conditions.
“It’s something like I’ve only ever experienced at under-8s when I played for Kings Cross as a youngster,” Widdop joked.
“My boots have never been as muddy, but those are conditions that I am going to have to adapt to. Going from summer in Australia to winter over here with the different elements is quite a challenge.”
Having previously suffered from an ankle injury, which kept him out of Warrington’s first two games, the halfback claimed that he wasn’t particularly worried about getting out there.
“It’s all part and parcel of the game, really. You can’t do anything about it when the conditions are like that. We just had to try and play our game today. I’m used to the fast tracks, but that’s something that isn’t going to be there in the next few months.”
Widdop revealed, though, that he is finding life in England good, despite the weather.
“It’s cold! But, I am certainly enjoying being back. The family is enjoying it too. I mean, you can’t really get out and about that much in the winter as opposed to the Australian summer, but that’s not stopped us being happy at all.”
On a team level, Widdop is confident that the Wolves will improve.
“The season lasts for a long time over here, so we’ve still got a lot of improvement in us. To turn over as much ball as we did today though, we won’t win any games doing that. We’ll learn from it. Our indiscipline and errors cost us today and we just couldn’t get any momentum.”
His first game for his new club was perhaps always likely to be a nervous one, but the playmaker insisted that he was just happy to get out there.
“Of course, playing in Warrington colours for the first time was something new and everyone gets nerves. But, I just wanted to get out there and get playing again, especially after being out with injury and not being there at the start of the season.”