McNamara facing up to life without Widdop

Gareth Widdop
Gareth Widdop

England coach Steve McNamara was today visiting Gareth Widdop in hospital hoping for the best but fearing the worst over the horrific injury which threatens to rule him out of the World Cup.

The Halifax-born stand-off suffered a dislocated hip during Melbourne Storm’s 18-12 defeat by Gold Coast Titans in Queensland yesterday.

McNamara, who is in Australia to monitor his NRL-based players in the build-up to the World Cup, was among the crowd at Skilled Park, where Widdop collapsed in excruciating pain after being brought to the ground in a tackle 10 minutes into the second half.

The 24-year-old punched the turf in agony and, as he was carried off on a stretcher, was seen clutching at trainers for comfort before being loaded into an ambulance and taken to nearby Robina Hospital.

“It’s a huge shame, an awful injury,” McNamara said. “I went into the dressing room after and spoke to their doctor.

“It all depends if it came straight out. I’m going to see him in hospital this morning.”

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy had little doubt that Widdop, who is leaving Storm to join St George Illawarra next season, has played his last match for the club.

“It’s not good news for us or him. He was in a lot of pain,” Bellamy said. “Hopefully it’s a clean dislocation and no fractures. The boys are really feeling for him at the moment.”