SYDNEY - A stricken Gareth Widdop climbed out of his sick bed to inspire St George-Illawarra to one of their best wins of the season on Sunday, a 28-12 triumph over Wests Tigers, to keep them in the hunt for the NRL finals.
Stricken by flu midweek and left unable to talk, Widdop blitzed the Tigers in the first half as the Dragons jumped out to a 22-0 lead before easing to the 16 point win, against a Wests side besieged by speculation over coach Mick Potter's future.
Much of the pre-game focus was on Benji Marshall's first game against his old club, but Widdop scored two first half tries, had a hand in two others, laid on the match-sealing try for Brett Morris in the 59th minute and kicked four from six goals in a commanding man-of-the-match effort.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor said it was a performance Widdop was working towards.
"Gareth had one of his better games in the last month," McGregor said.
"It was coming, you could tell in his approach and some of the things he spoke about at training. The way he attacked the game.
"We've got a few blokes sick next door too. The heat and the way the game was played took a little bit out of them and he's one of them."