Gareth Widdop will be keeping a close eye on his St George-Illawarra Dragons team-mate and Kiwi winger Jason Nightingale this Sunday when England play New Zealand at the KC Stadium, Hull (5.00pm).
Born and raised in Halifax, Widdop moved to Melbourne, Australia when he was 16-years-old with his family. He broke into Melbourne Storm’s first team in 2010 and went on to win the 2012 NRL Grand Final with them.
Nightingale, ever-present in the New Zealand squad since 2008, was joined by Widdop at the start of the 2014 season from the Storm. Having formed a successful partnership at the Dragons, Widdop will be making sure the 29-year-old winger won’t be getting any chances to get over the line in Hull.
“At club level Jason has been at the Dragons ever since he was a junior so he’s certainly well respected there and a good friend of mine,” said Widdop.
“He’s probably one of the older boys in the Kiwis and he’s got a lot of experience so he’ll be a key player for them in helping a few of the young boys out.
“He is an unbelievable finisher and has scored some great tries over the years. We’ll be making sure New Zealand don’t get into any good field positions and then they won’t have the opportunities to score those type of tries.
“Jason is a bit of a freak at times and manages to put the ball down when you think it’s not possible. First thing we have to do though is stop the big boys in the middle.”