Leeds Rhinos: Hetherington keeps tight-lipped over Widdop link

England's Gareth Widdop.
England's Gareth Widdop.
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chief executive Gary Hetherington is refusing to comment on claims Leeds Rhinos are keen to sign England stand-off Gareth Widdop, writes PETER SMITH.

Hetherington declined to discuss Australian media reports which say he has been in contact with Widdop, who is under contract to St George-Illawarra Dragons until 2017, but is understood to be interested in a move back to England.

Rhinos captain and stand-off Kevin Sinfield announced this will be his final season at the club shortly after Hetherington’s return from a recent trip to Australia, fuelling rumours he has a big-name No 6 in his sights.

Widdop, 26, was born in Halifax and emigrated to Australia with his family at the age of 15.

He came through the ranks at Melbourne Storm – after being introduced to the club by ex-Leeds coach Dean Lance – and joined St George in 2014.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald: “It is understood Leeds boss Gary Hetherington, who was in Australia recently to visit his daughter, has made contact with Widdop about the prospect of returning home.

“Given the strength of the pound, the Super League outfit would be able to table an offer that would dwarf the money he is currently on at the Dragons.”

But Hetherington insisted: “I am not going to comment on speculation. We will inevitably get linked with players, but we only announce things when they are done.”