Aug 28 2013
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says England stand-off Gareth Widdop has a realistic chance of playing in the World Cup.
Halifax-born Widdop dislocated his hip in Melbourne's NRL round 15 defeat by Gold Coast two months ago, effectively ending his domestic season and putting his World Cup prospects in serious doubt.
But the 24-year-old, who will join St George Illawarra next season, was back on the training field at Storm headquarters on Wednesday and is eyeing a return in October.
"He's been back doing a little bit on the exercise bike and he's been doing a bit of straight line running," Bellamy said.
"He's going to do some skills today and we'll see how he goes.
"But going out there and running around and actually going into contact are two different things, so I think he's running out of time probably.
"The World Cup is still a fair way away, so I'm not sure that's what St George want to hear but I think Gareth is leaning towards playing in the World Cup and obviously the Poms would be very glad to have him."
The news will delight England coach Steve McNamara, who was on the Gold Coast to watch Widdop suffer the injury in June, although it is thought the Dragons may be reluctant for Widdop to rush back.
Bellamy said Widdop, who will not have played for four months, would not take any undue risks.
"I'm sure he won't do anything silly but I'm sure he'd be a really good inclusion for England if he can get back to full health," he said.
Storm physio Tony Ayoub said: "Gaz is going fantastic. He's started doing a bit of running and he's chomping at the bit to get out there,
"We've not got clearance from the surgeon so we're holding him back, but you wouldn't think he's someone who has been out for nine weeks."
McNamara is set to announce his World Cup squad on October 9, 17 days before England's opening game against Australia in Cardiff.