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Smith hails Widdop comeback at World Cup

Cameron Smith knows first-hand the guts and determination it took for Gareth Widdop to revive his Rugby League World Cup dream.
Smith hails Widdop comeback at World Cup
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

CARDIFF, Oct 24 AAP - Cameron Smith knows first-hand the guts and determination it took for Gareth Widdop to revive his Rugby League World Cup dream.

And the Australian skipper is welcoming a chance to face his former Melbourne Storm teammate in Saturday's tournament opener in Cardiff.

Widdop was on Thursday included in England's 19-man squad for the Millennium Stadium clash, just four months after suffering a sickening hip injury that was expected to sideline him for the rest of the year.

Inclusion of the 24-year-old St George Illawarra-bound playmaker could be considered a setback for Australia but Smith said he was thrilled to see Widdop make a successful comeback.

"After that injury, we thought there was no chance of his playing for the Storm again this year and no chance at the World Cup," Smith told AAP.

"But he was actually able to come back and play a couple of games for us back home and it's great he's got an opportunity now to play at this World Cup.

"He's only a young kid. He's probably got another two (World Cups) left in him. Hopefully he plays well and has a great tournament."

Widdop was left in agony after suffering dislocating his him during the Storm's match against Gold Coast in June.

Smith said Widdop deserved credit for his swift recovery from such a serious injury.

"He had a pretty strict rehabilitation program he had to get through," Smith said.

"Firstly with the surgery and to get some strength around the joint and get his movement going again.

"It was a great effort in such a short amount of time and it's great that he's here."

Widdop's willingness to get back on the park so quickly was met with some hesitation from his new club, with the Dragons apprehensive their star 2014 signing maybe put putting himself at risk.

But Smith doesn't think Widdop will be vulnerable in Saturday's clash or throughout the tournament.

"I think if there was any risk of him re-injuring himself, he wouldn't have played at the end of the year," Smith said.

"I think he's right to go."




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