Gareth Widdop eyes Monty Porter Cup in final derby for St George Illawarra Dragons against Cronulla Sharks

Picture: John Veage
Picture: John Veage

Gareth Widdop is hopeful St George Illawarra can damage Cronulla's finals push in his final derby.

The Dragons make the short journey over the Captain Cook Bridge to PointsBet Stadium on Sunday knowing while they are very unlikely to make the play-offs, a win for the red V would put Cronulla's chances of reaching the post-season in jeopardy.

Widdop has plenty of derby experience, with Sunday to be his 10th clash against Cronulla while wearing the red V. The 30-year-old has a happy record against the Sharks, winning seven of his nine games for the Dragons so far. Widdop also won three out of his four games against Cronulla when he was at Melbourne.

The Englishman will leave St George Illawarra at the end of the season, having secured a release from his contract with the Dragons in January to join Super League club Warrington.

"I've been lucky enough to play in a lot of the local derbies and it's always a very aggressive, physical and generally close game," Widdop said.

Fan favourite: Gareth Widdop has plenty of history in the derby. Pictures: John Veage

Fan favourite: Gareth Widdop has plenty of history in the derby. Pictures: John Veage

"They'll be out to put in a good performance and get the two points. They're still in the hunt for the top eight so hopefully we can go up there and do a good job and get the win again."

St George Illawarra snapped a five-game losing streak against the Gold Coast on Saturday and Widdop said the Dragons would bring plenty of confidence with them to Woolooware.

"Obviously it's been a tough couple of weeks. The last few games our attitude and effort has been really good," he said.

"The way we lost to Souths was heartbreaking and against Parra we created a lot of opportunities but we couldn't get the job done. [Against the Titans] to finally get the win was certainly [good].

"It's always different when you win, it's always very positive. For us it's about going on with that now and putting in another good performance."

Widdop confirmed his troublesome shoulder had held up since his return to the NRL after missing the bulk of the season. He also paid tribute to his wife Carly and grandmother back home in England ahead of the NRL's women in league round.

"[My grandmother] sits up no matter what time of the day we're playing. She's up at three o'clock [in the morning]," he said.

"She's been a big supporter of mine for a number of years and even though I'm moving on next year she'll still be a supporter of the Dragons."

Cronulla won the reverse fixture 22-9 in round 11 in Wollongong, with another win for the Sharks to see them hold onto the Monty Porter Cup until next season.

Recent honours between the clubs have been split evenly, with the Dragons and Sharks winning four games each from their last eight clashes.

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