Widdop becomes a leader
Leadership. You don't get a lot of time to show it down in Melbourne. Not when Billy Slater's on your right, Cooper Cronk's on your left, and Cameron Smith is right in front of you.
And so when the Dragons pinched Gareth Widdop from the Storm, they weren't just signing him to have a hand in five of their eight tries and kick a perfect eight goals from eight attempts – like he did in their season-opening 44-24 win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday.
They brought him over to be a leader, a go-to man, someone to steady the ship when it all of a sudden goes a little wonky. And admittedly, it's been a pretty wonky ship for the past 12 months now.
"[He brings] a level of calmness. He's a true professional in everything he does," Dragons coach Steve Price said of Widdop after the win.
"He's good leader within our footy club and he backs and supports our captain up in Ben. He showed what kind of quality player he is in his goal-kicking I think he kicked eight from eight today which was handy for us."
The Dragons scored eight tries on Sunday, all in the final 60 minutes of the game. Not since a Round 19 win over the Sea Eagles in 2009 have famous Red V used so much of the clock with goal-kicking. And the biggest factor in the victory was the English international who grew up with one of the most successful teams in the modern era.
"I just think he's a great leader," gushed team-mate Kyle Stanley. "For a young playmaker, he's only 24 or whatever, but he's just taking that leadership role for the team and it's going to be a great aspect for him, for the whole club, because he's really taken it with both hands and it's really good for us.
"He definitely came across with that mindset [to be a leader]. He wanted to step up in that role. From the day he started, he was really talkative, and he really took it with both hands which was really good. Hats off to him.
"He comes from a great team in Melbourne. He was an undercard there for leadership because of Cameron Smith and all that, but he's taken that role here and it's just good for the team. "