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Ben Creagh chats to the match official during the Red V's Round 24 win over the Panthers.

St George Illawarra club captain Ben Creagh was content with the club's decision to appoint the team captaincy to Gareth Widdop on Thursday. 

In fact, it was his idea.

Following the Dragons' first foray into finals football in four years Creagh said it "was the right time to pass it on", with the former New South Wales and Australian representative reaching the twilight of his career. 

"After last season where I started from the bench – and considering the amount of time I was off the field – I felt like I wasn't fulfilling the role as captain as best I could," Creagh said.

"When I was first given the captaincy by Steve Price, I was playing long minutes in the back row and was able to train every day as well.

"It was important to pass it on to someone who could do the role 100 per cent. Gareth's a wonderful player, competitor and leader and I'll do anything I can to support him."

St George Illawarra's inaugural captain and now coach Paul McGregor said Widdop's promotion was a matter of moving onwards and upwards towards further successes. 

"We made the finals for the first time in four years so it was a real plus on previous seasons. You don't want to stand still though, you'll get run over. We wanted to move forward in a few other areas – this was one of them," McGregor told

"Ben is still going to be a massive part of our leadership group because he's the ultimate honest competitor that you want. With Gareth we have a similar person, he has a settled life, wife, kids and he's very settled with what he does. 

"He won't over-speak, meaning he's selective with what he talks about so everyone listens. I don't like when a captain talks all the time because it's always about him but Gareth isn't that type of guy."

The man himself described getting the leadership role as a "huge honour". 

Having only been at the club for the past two seasons, Widdop has made a quick impression following his time playing alongside rugby league icons Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk at the Melbourne Storm.

"To be a captain at such a great club is such a privilege," Widdop said. 

"When I left Melbourne I knew it was time to move on and take my career to my next level and that's what's happened over the last few years.

"I never thought being from the north of England that I'd be over here in Australia doing such things to begin with so it's a great honour."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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