Widdop facing extended stint on the sidelines

Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop is set for an extended stint on the sidelines after he was forced from the field on the stroke of half-time with a medial ligament injury in his left knee during Tuesday's 13-12 golden point loss to the Roosters. 

The injury will almost certainly rule the playmaker out of England's Test on May 6 against Samoa, with scans set to reveal how many NRL matches he will miss as a result of the knock he picked up while trying to escape the in-goal area. 

‌St George Illawarra Head of Athletic Performance Nathan Pickworth provided an update on the situation. 

"It looks like he's suffered a moderate to high grade medial ligament injury in his knee," Pickworth said. 

"He'll have scans on Wednesday which will determine the prognosis and return to play time frame."

Dragons coach Paul McGregor said the injury was "not good" but was proud of the way his side fought on without their main playmaker. 

Kurt Mann looms as the man most likely to slot into the halves for Sunday's game against the Storm, and McGregor said it was a case of next man up for the Red V. 

"I don't know how bad it is yet because it's only fresh, but it's a medial so I'm not sure the time frame on it," he said after the game. 

"Gareth doesn't like coming off, so coming off and not being able to run… he won't be playing [in the Test], one would think.

"We're a squad – that was the message. Whoever takes that position is ready [and] he'll know our systems. 

"There's a good opportunity for Kurt to play a bit in the halves. You don't replace Gareth Widdop, but he's trained there before and he's a very capable NRL player. We're comfortable whoever comes in and wears the number.

"I don't want to make an excuse on a day like today because as I told the boys, they did what they could in the circumstances."

Dragons winger Jason Nightingale said the side lost a bit of "leadership and communication" once Widdop left the field, but backed Mann to get the job in his stead.  

"Kurt has trained there a lot in the pre-season and he knows the way we play and he's fitted into that really well,'  he said. 

"I thought Josh McCrone did a good job stepping up in his place. We weren't as sharp as we would have been if our halves were there, but there are no excuses."