McGregor happy with Widdop’s NRL form

Coach Paul McGregor insists he’s happy with the form of Gareth Widdop and says there’s no truth to rumours the England playmaker wants to leave the NRL club.

Widdop is reported to be unhappy at playing second fiddle to Benji Marshall in the halves but McGregor has poured cold water on claims the 24-year-old has been a shadow of the player who impressed in his first season at the club last year.

“I don’t buy that at all,” McGregor said.

“I look at what he does away from the ball. Coaches do that – he’s everywhere.

“You look at anything kicked from behind, a line break that is made, he’s the first jumper in the picture.

“He’s just where I need him to be and he’s not too far away from a blowout game where everything goes right.

“But for me, his effort is perfect and that is fine. It’s not always about your performance – it’s the effort that counts.”

With Marshall’s arrival at the Dragons midway through last year, he became the focal point of the team’s attack but McGregor said at no stage had Widdop expressed any issues with the halves pairing.

“I am happy with both of them,” he said.

“They started to get going at the end of last year. You’ve got to remember Gareth didn’t come back to pre-season until after Christmas.

“Three weeks later, we’re off over to England (for the World Club Series).

“It’s going to take time but, as far as I am concerned, I am happy with both of them and they are a threat on either side of the park which is important.

“Everyone talked about Benji last weekend but there was still a player on the other side who is doing a really good job for the team.”

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