Rugby League - Widdop eager to make his mark

Gareth Widdop will be gunning for his England captain Kevin Sinfield when he leads the Melbourne Storm attack against Leeds in Friday's Probiz World Club Challenge at Headingley.

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Rugby League - Widdop eager to make his mark
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Gareth Widdop is hoping to earn more England caps

The 23-year-old Halifax-born stand-off is hoping to catch the eye of England coach Steve McNamara ahead of the World Cup, acutely aware of the fact that Sinfield is the man standing in his way of the number six jersey.

"Everyone wants to represent their country," he said. "I didn't play too many minutes last time but all I can do is concentrate on playing good football for Melbourne Storm. "If I get selected for England, then that would be great but for now it's a matter of focusing on playing well for my club team."

After succeeding his Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock as England skipper and leading them so effectively against France and Wales, Sinfield is widely expected to retain the role for the World Cup.

He is also highly fancied to keep the number six jersey after being named winner of the 2012 Golden Boot ahead of Melbourne and Australia captain Cameron Smith - a selection that drew ridicule from much of the media Down Under.

Widdop had no problem with the choice, however, and appreciates Sinfield's value to both club and country.

"Fair play to him. Everyone is happy for him," Widdop said. "He's a great player and he's done great things in the game. It was well deserved. Everyone knows how good a player Kev is. He's played for a number of years now. England need someone like Kev who has a lot of experience. I will be doing everything I can to get selected."

While Sinfield will be making his sixth appearance in the World Club Challenge, Widdop will be featuring in his first, having missed out on selection against the Rhinos in 2010 when he was just breaking into the Melbourne team.

"Three years ago I'd not played first grade," he recalled. "I was one of the young boys. It was a good experience and hopefully it will help me out on this trip.

"It was disappointing to miss out but I've had a good two years in the NRL. I still want to learn and keep improving my game but obviously I'm very happy with my achievements in the last two and a half years."

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