MELBOURNE and England five-eighth Gareth Widdop is out for the rest of the NRL season and the World Cup.
“And that’s a best case scenario,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said late Monday after the 24 year old suffered an horrific dislocated hip the 18-12 loss to Gold Coast at Skilled Park, the world champs’ third loss of the season.
“I’m shattered for him that that’s going to be the end of his career with the Melbourne Storm.
“I just spoke to the doctor … they are not really sure how long it will take him to recover.”
England coach Steve McNamara visited the Storm dressingroom at fulltime but by then Widdop was already at nearby Robina Hospital, where McNamara will visit him tomorrow.
The St George Illawarra-bound playmaker was pushing hard for a starting berth in the World Cup after playing a bench role in the 2011 Four Nations and missing the 2012 Autumn Internationals through injury.
He punched the ground in agony after being tackled by Ryan James and Albert Kelly. As he was carried off he was seen clutching at trainers for comfort and was attended to by both club doctors before being loaded onto an ambulance.
Bellamy said: “He’s in a lot of pain. Hopefully it’s a clean dislocation and no fractures. The boys are really feeling for him at the moment.”
Despite losing Widdop in the 51st minute and being without key men Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater through Origin duty, debutant Ben Hampton’s second try narrowed the margin to two with 17 minutes remaining.
Titan Luke O’Dwyer’s final try was marred by the muffed conversion attempt which ended a run of 28 consecutive goals. “I don’t know what happened there,” a frustrated Sezer said.
Titans centre Brad Takairangi was forced off with a rib injury around the time Widdop departed. “It’s a rib cartilage, it will take a couple of days to assess it,” said coach John Cartwright.
Bellamy paid tribute to the Hampton for his toughness as much as his flair in posting a brace.
“He’s only a small kid but he’s tough,” said Bellamy. “He could have stayed down there a couple of times. They got stuck into him.
“We probably expected that and he expected that, being a small guy and it being his first grade debut. Jamal (Idris) took a bit of a liking to him early and (Dave) Taylor got stuck into him once.
“He got a couple around the head but he didn’t lay down. We don’t want our players laying down to get penalties.
“I reckon, three or four times, he could have stayed down to get penalties but he got up and played the ball so I was real proud of his effort there tonight.”
Bellamy said his side should have been more organised in their kicking game and “should have been more dangerous”.
“But their effort out there was good – all of them,” he said.
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD