Fears Widdop may have played final NRL game
GARETH Widdop has most likely played his last game for St George Illawarra with fears now for his long-term playing future after dislocating his right shoulder for the third time in just five matches.
Reports indicated Widdop's shoulder was so badly dislocated medical staff at Suncorp Stadium were unable to put his shoulder back into place with Widdop forced to go to hospital after the Dragons dramatic one-point win against Brisbane on Thursday night.
The Dragons skipper cut a sombre figure when he returned with the rest of his teammates to Sydney with his arm in a sling.
Widdop will have scans on Monday but privately St George Illawarra officials fear he has played his last game for the club.
Prop Paul Vaughan is hoping to once against line up beside his skipper.
"I'm hoping I haven't played my last game with him," Vaughan said. "I love the bloke. They are getting scans and will find out in the next few days.
"When I first moved up here (from Canberra I realised) he is a great club skipper. He gets the boys together. He is a class player. He has the x-factor. Off the field he is a great bloke, he has a great family.
"He is such an important part of the club. It's disappointing. He will still be around the boys and getting us fired up every week."
Widdop was released from the final two years of his St George Illawarra contract to join Warrington on a three-year deal from next season but there are now question marks regarding the stability of his shoulder after it again dislocated in an innocuous fashion on Thursday.
Widdop dislocated the right shoulder against Parramatta in round 22 last year and did not finish the match in his return against Brisbane in last year's finals series.
He had a shoulder reconstruction in the off-season and came through the opening two games unscathed before trouble struck in consecutive appearances in Brisbane.
"It sucks because everyone knows what he is capable of," Vaughan said.
"He has already been through that. "You don't wish that upon anyone. It's a terrible thing to happen, especially our skipper. He wants to go off on a high note. I'm sure he still will - it's just a roadblock at the moment.
"He has all the support of the boys. All the boys love him."
The Dragons are also expected to be without Tyson Frizell (ruptured testicle) for at least another week leaving hooker Cameron McInnes as the frontrunner to captain the side in Widdop's absence.
Matt Dufty will take Widdop's place at fullback while Zac Lomax will come under consideration for a wing spot with the Dragons also on the lookout for another goal-kicker.
Centre Tim Lafai is expected to be handed the goalkicking duties if Lomax misses out ahead of their clash against Newcastle next Sunday.
Vaughan said the 25-24 win against Brisbane could help shape the Dragons season after their winless start to the year.
"It's great for the confidence of the boys," Vaughan said. "If you're looking 0-3 things start to get dicey. It's great to get the win, especially under the circumstances."