|Born||25 October 1979|
Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||101 kg (15 st 13 lb) |
|Position||Second-row, Lock, Five-eighth|
Dean Richard Widders (born 25 October 1979) is an Anaiwan Indigenous Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 2000s and 2010s. He works with the National Rugby League as an Indigenous Pathways manager.
A skillful forward as a player Widders has always been passionate about Rugby league and what difference it can make in the community particularly for people from remote and rural areas and Indigenous Australians. He has been a great advocate for Women playing the game and coached the Indigenous Women's All stars in their win over the Jillaroos in 2017. He delivers workshops to youth on leadership, decision making and goal setting and is involved in numerous programs in schools. He recently played and coached the Redfern All Blacks to a record equaling 3 grand final wins in a row plus 2 Koori Knockouts in a row from 2015-2017. He proudly won three koori knockouts with his hometown Narwan Eels in the 2000s.
Widders was born in Armidale, NSW, Australia.
He played his first game of rugby league at the age of six for the local Armidale colts after watching his father Jake Widders who was a great player for the famous Aboriginal team the Narwan eels. He tried many other sports but excelled especially in rugby league. Widders was also an avid reader during his childhood, a skill that he continues to promote.
During Widders' teenage years he honed his rugby league skills and became well known in the local area as a lock playing for the Armidale Greens and Narwan Eels. During this time Arthur Beetson Sydney Roosters selector flew to Armidale to see Widders' play. When Widders' was 14, in 1993, he was invited to a selection trial and proved to be one of the best players.
Widders made his debut for the Roosters in 2000, playing in 13 NRL matches for the club. In 2002 Widders' signed with the Parramatta Eels, in 2005 he was part of The Parramatta side which won the minor premiership, he finished with the club at the end of 2006.
Widders' was involved in a racial vilification incident in July 2005 when South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Bryan Fletcher racially abused him. In 2006, he signed a three-year contract to play for the South Sydney Rabbitohs starting in 2007.
Widders joined Castleford for the 2009 season. He played 19 times in his first season for the Tigers, scoring 6 tries.
Widders started 2010 in great fashion, scoring the final and clinching try away at Headingley in Castleford's opening game against the Leeds Rhinos. Widders picked up an injury and missed 2 months of the season but came back and played in an unfamiliar role of Stand-off, linking up with Rangi Chase.
Widders played in 2011 and had a good season, which was his final season at the Castleford Tigers. The club failed to make the play offs after a narrow defeat by Hull KR. Widders said his final goodbyes to the Castleford public in the last home game against Hull F.C.
In 1997, Widders' returned to Duval High School in Armidale to complete his Higher School Certificate.
Widders' is very well respected in his hometown of Armidale, New South Wales: in 2004 he was awarded the NRL's Ken Stephens Medal for his positive work with youth in the community and in 2006 he was appointed to the Federal Government's National Indigenous Council. Widders is also an Ambassador for the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation Australia (NASCA).
- Junior Club: Armidale, Narwan
- Career Stats: 219 first grade games scoring 59 tries
- Representative Honours: Country Origin (2006), Prime Minister's XIII (2007)
- Honours: Minor Premiership (2005) with Parramatta
- "Castleford Tigers First Team". web page. Castleford Tigers Rugby League Football Club Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Rugby League Project
- "New Member Appointed to National Indigenous Council". Commonwealth Government. 19 June 2006. Archived from the original on 20 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- "Parramatta at Legends of League tournament".
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