Dragons fearing long Widdop absence


St George Illawarra Dragons fear Gareth Widdop could be set for a long spell on the sidelines after the captain suffered a knee injury during Tuesday's dramatic 13-12 NRL loss to Sydney Roosters.

Widdop is expected to miss England's Test against Samoa on May 6 after taking a knock while attempting to get out of the in-goal area at Allianz Stadium in an Anzac Day thriller.

The inspirational five-eighth limped off just before half-time and could only watch on as the Dragons' four-match winning run came to a halt when Mitchell Pearce slotted over a golden-point drop goal.

Dragons head of athletic performance Nathan Pickworth said the high-flyers are braced for bad news on playmaker Widdop.

"It looks like he's suffered a moderate to high grade medial ligament injury in his knee," said Pickworth. 

"He'll have scans on Wednesday which will determine the prognosis and return-to-play time frame."

Dragons coach Paul McGregor said: "I don't know how bad it is yet because it's only fresh, but it's a medial so I'm not sure the time frame on it.

"Gareth doesn't like coming off, so coming off and not being able to run... he won't be playing [against Samoa], one would think.

"We're a squad - that was the message. Whoever takes that position is ready [and] he'll know our systems. 

"There's a good opportunity for Kurt [Mann] to play a bit in the halves. You don't replace Gareth Widdop, but he's trained there before and he's a very capable NRL player. We're comfortable whoever comes in and wears the number.

"I don't want to make an excuse on a day like today because as I told the boys, they did what they could in the circumstances."