By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra five-eighth Gareth Widdop has denied rumours he is to depart the Dragons following their big 31-6 victory over the Bulldogs on Sunday.
With recent speculation suggesting Super League giants Leeds Rhinos are set to make a significant play for the English international as a replacement for renowned veteran Kevin Sinfield, Widdop said he his sick of hearing rumours about his future considering he is contracted to his current club until 2017.
While Widdop isn't totally against a move to the Super League later down the track, the 26-year-old is happy staying put for the time-being.
"I haven't even heard of [the Leeds rumour] until just [after playing the Bulldogs]. It's just what the media is all about, speculation. I'm just here to talk about and worry about my football with the Dragons at the moment," Widdop told NRL.com.
"I might get over there maybe one day but at the moment I'm just happy at the Dragons and playing in the NRL."
Speaking after his 100th NRL game, Widdop was proud to achieve such a milestone and believes playing for the Dragons ranks very high on his list of career achievements.
"Playing for my country and for the Dragons and putting on the Red V, with them being such a famous club, is very special to me," Widdop said.
"I've been quite lucky [in my career] so far and hopefully I have many more good years to come."
Coming from the Melbourne Storm system – who make a big deal over personal milestones such as the one Widdop just achieved – and a Craig Bellamy-influenced culture, Widdop was quite pleased with his latest achievement.
Considering he has played for England 14 times and won a grand final in 2012 with Melbourne, it's quite remarkable to think what Widdop has accomplished in such a short space of time.
"Obviously these milestone games are always great. Growing up in the north of England I never thought I'd be living in Australia and playing in the NRL," Widdop said.
"To play 100 games is obviously a very proud moment and something which I'll always remember – especially getting the win too."
Widdop produced his first two try assists for the season in the milestone game, setting up Euan Aitken and Joel Thompson late in the second half.
"We certainly are [happy with our attack] but we want to build our game on defence and we have worked really hard on it and that's what has won us games in the past few weeks," Widdop said.
"After an average start to the season we have managed to claw our way back and gain a lot of confidence, so to get another win against a good team in the Bulldogs is obviously great."