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Widdop leaves sick bed to inspire Dragons win

Widdop leaves sick bed to inspire Dragons win
Head down, bum up... a sick Dragons halfback Gareth Widdop took centre stage from teammate Benji Marshall against the Wests Tigers on Sunday. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.

St George Illawarra five-eighth Gareth Widdop had his "head in a bucket of Vix" after leading his side to a 28-12 win over Wests Tigers on Sunday.

Widdop, who was too ill to speak to the media after the game, had been croaky throughout the week leading up the Sunday's clash. But his halves partner Benji Marshall was gushing in his assessment of Widdop's performance.

"Oh, he's sick man," Marshall said when asked for an assessment of his teammate's condition.

"He couldn't even speak during the week. I did most of the talking [on the field], organisational-wise and he just really stood up today. 

"They were putting an extra number in defence on my side and he just took the ball every time and capitalised."

Widdop scored two tries with perfect support play when first winger Brett Morris then later hooker Mitch Rein made line breaks before kicking ahead.

The former Storm pivot also created two tries; one was a pinpoint chip out to Morris who batted back for centre Gerard Beale to score, the second a jinking cross-field run and cutout pass for winger Jason Nightingale to get into space and score. 

He added four goals from six attempts for good measure.

"Gareth just took over and really stood up today," Marshall said. 

"It wasn't my best game but I just played a pretty basic role and Gareth brought the all out flair today."

Coach Paul McGregor was also pleased with the Englishman's efforts, although in a far more understated way than Marshall.

"Gareth had one of his better games in the last month," McGregor deadpanned in the post-match press conference.

"It was coming, you could tell in his approach and some of the things he spoke about at training, the way he attacked the game."

He said there were a few players unwell, and the heat during the Sunday afternoon game and pace of the contest hadn't helped.

"The heat and the way the game was played took a little bit out of them and he's one of them. It's a credit to him to push through that and have that display as a senior player."

He said he had challenged Widdop, as a senior player, and told him to go to the game instead of letting the game go to him.

"Because with a lot of emotion around what Benji was doing, it's important that there's two of them, he needs to really take control if Benji's under pressure."

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