England playmaker Gareth Widdop says he hopes to play in Super League “when the time is right” after committing to National Rugby League side St George Illawarra for 2019.
The 29-year-old Dragons captain joined them from Melbourne Storm in 2014, and was named the 2017 Dally M stand-off of the year for his impressive displays.
Halifax-born Widdop moved to Australia with his family aged 16.
“I haven’t asked for a release for 2019,” he said.
“There’s no secret I have aspirations of going over to the UK and playing. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I have a good relationship with the club and so when the time is right we’ll work together.
“I understand my importance to this team and my position as the captain and leader of this club. I will be here in 2019 and can’t wait for the season to start.”
England boss Wayne Bennett was unable to call on Widdop for the recent series against New Zealand after he suffered a shoulder injury which required surgery, but he played the midseason Test against the Kiwis in June and was a member of the 2017 World Cup squad.
Widdop first came to prominence with Melbourne Storm as Billy Slater’s full-back understudy and then as a ‘five-eighth’, the position he has made his own.
He was also given his England debut while at the Storm, where he made 70 appearances and won a NRL premiership before St George made their approach.
Widdop has England prop James Graham as a team-mate at the Dragons, for whom he has played 115 games.