Gareth Widdop wants to be Warrington wow with family on the other side of the world

GARETH Widdop has a single focus after deciding to leave his family on the other side of the world.

Proving to Warrington fans he is worth the cost.

Coming home to England after emigrating to Australia aged 16 and becoming an NRL star should have been a dream.

Instead Covid-19 and other off-field issues, as well as injury, made it more of a nightmare.

Now after deciding to give it another go, Widdop left wife Carley and kids Brayden, Harper and Willow in Sydney, where they returned last summer.

And he is in no doubt about his aim – becoming a big part of the Wolves' bid to overcome last season's disappointment.

Widdop, who was linked with several NRL clubs, said: “There were a lot of personal things to deal with last year and having your kids on the other side of the world is certainly very difficult.

“It’s difficult being away from the kids, they mean the world to me.

“People got wind of Carley and the kids being back in Australia last year and working away from them was difficult but I’m back at Warrington now and I’m really enjoying it.

“Last year was tough for a number of reasons. Now I’ve come back focused on helping Warrington play well. I just want to get back into a rhythm of training hard, playing and enjoying it again.”

Heading back to Australia to see his wife and kids again presented its own challenges for Widdop.

An almost empty flight was followed by two weeks in quarantine as the Australian government dictated.

Having done that, the talks started – stay home or go ‘home?’

In the end ‘home’ won out and the 31-year-old went back to his roots, moving to his hometown of Halifax, West Yorkshire, after being in Cheshire last year.

Widdop, described as ‘flying’ by coach Steve Price, added: “Going back to Australia was ridiculously hard. There were only 30 people on the flight.

“I was lucky to get back as I’m an Australian resident and they only let certain people in. Just getting flights was difficult.

“On the way, I had to spend 20 hours at Singapore, then when I arrived I had to do quarantine.

“Quarantine was very difficult. Spending time in a room that may as well have had no windows for two weeks but it was the only option. It was just me as they were already back.

“Now I’ve moved closer to ‘home’ near Halifax and it’s good for me. It can be frustrating with what we can and can’t do because of Covid-19 but I’m closer to my grandparents now.

“And I’ve been about one or two of the areas I remember from growing up for a walk or on my bike – the roads are behaving too!”

Now he is back, Widdop could be forgiven for thinking he had gone back in time.

For he is now preparing alongside Aussie legend Greg Inglis, which he did ahead of his NRL debut at Melbourne Storm some 11 years ago.

He said: “He’s been huge around the club already.

“Apart from being at training, I don’t really get to see him so showing him around the area is very hard – it’s not like we can go for a coffee either.

“But it’s great to see the big fella back in the game.”

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