England rugby league star Gareth Widdop stops by
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for England international and now Warrington Wolves rugby league sensation, Gareth Widdop.
Fresh from his return from Australia – where he’s been plying his trade with Melbourne Storm and Sydney’s St. George Illawarra Dragons over the past 13 years – Widdop took a moment to speak with us after collecting his car from our state-of-the-art showroom at Hippo Prestige.
“I moved to Aus when I was 17 with my parents,” he said. “I wanted to be a carpenter to start with.
“I always had aspirations to be a rugby league player, but carpentry seemed a more realistic job at the time.
“But to cut a long story short, I managed to get my way through the juniors at Melbourne. From there, I went into the U20s system then onto the first grade in 2010.
“I played at Melbourne for four years, then moved to Sydney to play for the Dragons. I became the captain there in 2015 and have been there ever since.
“I was also fortunate enough to play for my country almost 30 times as well over the last 10 years.”
A change of scenery
As we’ve all seen on the news, Australia is currently facing an onslaught of high temperatures. And it’s safe to say that the north west of England, at the beginning of January, comes with a slightly different climate.
“I find myself in England at the perfect time; winter,” Widdop joked. “But seriously, it’s a new challenge, a new adventure at Warrington Wolves.
“Growing up in England, I always wanted to play in the Super League. And now I get the opportunity to do that with such a great club.
“There’s still a lot of things I want to achieve in my career, and I’m going to make the most of being here. I’m really looking forward to the experience in the UK.”
Grandparents and fish & chips
When setting out to Australia with his parents more than a decade ago, Widdop left two loves behind.
“Fish and chips,” he jokingly replied when asked why he’s most excited to be back. “No, I’m really looking forward to being around my Gran and Grandad again.
“I grew up with them a lot and to get to play in front of them more regularly is going to be special.”
Time for business
Despite only being back in the UK less than 24 hours, Widdop was keen to stress he’s ready for the challenge that lays ahead with his new club, Warrington Wolves.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into it after having a little bit of time off,” he added. “There’s a trial game against Salford later this month before the season starts which I can’t wait for.
“I know six or seven of the lads already and have played with about five of them before with England, so it’s going to make the move a lot easier.”
But there was still a little bit of time for Widdop to think about what he’s leaving behind as he embarks on the latest chapter of his rugby league career.
“I’m going to miss the lifestyle of in and around Sydney,” Widdop said. “The sun and the beach 200 metres away. I’ll definitely miss it a little bit.
“But this is going to be a great challenge and experience that I’m really looking forward to.”
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