Widdop has Dragons' spirit soaring

Gareth Widdop, middle, trains with his teammates at WIN Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO
Gareth Widdop, middle, trains with his teammates at WIN Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO


Blues winger Brett Morris believes Gareth Widdop could prove to be the signing of the year as excitement builds after St George Illawarra's red-hot start to the season.

Victory over a depleted Cronulla side this Saturday would see the Dragons start their campaign with three straight victories for the first time since the club's 2010 premiership-winning year.

Former Melbourne playmaker Widdop was one of several new signings made by the Dragons.

There was pressure on coach Steve Price to succeed going into the new season after two years out of the finals and less-than-impressive trial form.

But after a 42-22 win over Wests Tigers in round one and a 31-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland, the mood has changed.

Morris says morale in the team is sky high.

"It's very early and can't get carried away but I'm very excited. We couldn't have asked for a better start," Morris said.

"Having Gareth here has been huge for us as is having Gerard Beale back after his injury last year. It's made things really enjoyable."

Morris scored the try of the year so far at Eden Park when he scooped up a Shaun Johnson grubber-kick in his own in-goal area and sprinted 100 metres for a second-half score to ice the game.

While that effort topped the highlights reel, Widdop's brilliant field goal, when he turned with his back to goal and off-balance slotted the ball over the bar, was a close second and the sign of a player full of confidence and at the top of his game.

"He's been outstanding, he came here for a reason and that was to get the halves firing. He's doing that and I've been really impressed," Morris said.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of calmness and in turn helping the team. We're jumping off the back of it.

"It can take a bit of time to gel with new players but everyone seems to be fitting in well so far," Morris said.

There were fears the Dragons could struggle in attack without knee injury victim Josh Dugan, who is due back in round seven.

With 73 points to their name after two games - a figure they only reached in round five last year - Morris says there's less pressure on the medical staff to rush Dugan back.

"Adam Quinlan has been great at fullback and we seem to have a bit of depth at the club which hasn't been the case for the last few years," he said.



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