Fax’s Widdop makes history with the Storm

Melbourne’s Halifax-born playmaker Gareth Widdop has become only the 11th Englishman to play in a Grand Final winning side in Australia after the Storm beat Canterbury 14-4 in front of 82,976 fans in Sydney.

Widdop, the former King Cross junior and Fax scholarship player who emigrated at the age of 16, is the first since current Warrington captain Adrian Morley achieved the feat with the Sydney Roosters in 2002.

Stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships due to major breaches of the salary cap, the Storm finally added a second title to their 1999 premiership courtesy of tries from former Wigan second-rower Ryan Hoffman, full back Billy Slater and wing Justin O’Neill.

Their victory would have been even more emphatic but for an off day with the boot by captain Cameron Smith, who succeeded with just one of his four attempts at goal.

Canterbury scored their only try through winger Sam Perrett on 26 minutes.

The Bulldogs’ England forward James Graham could be facing a two-month ban if he is found guilty of biting the ear of an opponent.

The former St Helens captain was put on report for his part in a fracas after Slater complained to referee Tony Archer that his ear had been bitten and close-up television replays appeared to provide damning evidence against Graham, who will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of tomorrow’s match review committee meeting.

Graham, who is in his first season in the NRL, is due to link up with England for their training camp in South Africa next week but, if he is found guilty and suspended, he could miss the autumn internationals against France and Wales.

Canterbury forward Brad Morrin was suspended for eight weeks in 2007 for biting Timana Tahu.

Slater offered a “no comment” when asked about it in the Storm dressing room after the match, while Graham was kept well off limits by Dogs officials.

Earlier, in the post-match press conference, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said: “It’s an incident that happened in the game and it will be sorted out tomorrow or the next day or the next day.

“It doesn’t concern us. We’ve just won a premiership. What happened in the game, it’s done now.”