Castleford Tigers have this afternoon announced the signing of Gareth Widdop from Warrington on a two-year deal.
The Halifax-born playmaker joins after three seasons with the Wolves, and is expected to partner fellow new signing Jacob Miller in the halves next season for Lee Radford’s team.
Widdop will bring a wealth of experience to the Fords, as England’s second-highest points scorer of all time, along with almost 200 NRL appearances.
In 2020, when he returned home to sign for Warrington, there was huge expectation around the halfback who came back to English shores an NRL Grand Final winner with Melbourne Storm, as well as captaining St George Illawarra Dragons for three seasons prior to his move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
But despite picking up their Player of the Year award in 2021, Widdop has admitted he struggled at times during his stint with the Wolves.
Speaking to the Castleford Tigers website, Widdop said: “I’d like to say it was smooth sailing but unfortunately moving from Australia and almost straight into Covid, meant missing my first season with Warrington.
“It was difficult for everyone obviously, difficult for the world and had a massive knock-on effect on life in general.
“We got through that, and I had a great second year. I’d worked with Steve Price in Australia and he’s a great coach and got me playing some really good football. That’s what I want to get back to again, playing some really good football.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had a couple of injuries this year and as a team this year Warrington has struggled a bit, but I’m ready and raring to go now.”
Now Widdop’s attentions are firmly on what he can do with Castleford, who were unlucky to miss out on the Super League play-offs last season following a narrow defeat to eventual Grand Finalists Leeds in the last game of the regular season.
Speaking about what he can bring to the Tigers, Widdop said: “I’d like to think I can bring a lot of experience. I’ve been fortunate to play at the highest level for a number of years now and play in some really big games.
“On a personal level, I base my game on competing and working hard and that’s where my game starts. With my knowledge of playing the game for a long time, I hope I can work with the boys well.
“We already have a great team and some good players, if I can add that extra one percent to improve the team then we’re going in the right direction.
“You have your individual aims, I’ve always based my game on being consistent, I don’t want my good games and bad games to be too far apart. Consistency is big in life and in any sport and if can be a consistent player week in and week out, doing my job, doing my role for the team, it’s only going to be beneficial.”
“I want to bring success to the club. It’s the reason we play the game, to win trophies and play in the big games. I’ve still got the fire inside me to do that.
“I’m coming to the back end of my career now and when this opportunity popped up at Cas with the players in this team, and the great coaching staff there’s no reason why not. It takes a lot of hard work along the way, and I’ve still got aspirations to lift some silverware. We want to be winners and it’s what we’re striving for.”