Does this bizarre fan theory explain the Dragons' slump?

It’s the conspiracy theory that just won’t go away, and many fans reckon it’s the reason the Dragons have lost five of their last six games.

Early-season ladder-leaders, the Saints are now out of the top four for the first time this year after one win in six weeks.

With every loss the cries of “chokers” only grow louder, and the questions about their late-season fade-outs become an avalanche.

But a strange theory has been circulating on social media for the last few weeks – and it has to do with Gareth Widdop’s hair.

Gareth Widdop holds his injured shoulder during the round 22 NRL match against the Parramatta Eels. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Gareth Widdop holds his injured shoulder during the round 22 NRL match against the Parramatta Eels. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The skipper had fans scratching their heads when he rocked up to their Round 18 clash with the Tigers with bleach-blonde hair, a striking contrast to his traditionally dark locks.

Widdop and the Dragons were in first-place when he made the change, but their form has plummeted ever since.

The Red V have lost four of their last five with Widdop’s blonde hair, a fact that hasn’t been lost on fans:

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In fact, it’s not just fans who reckon Widdop’s hair has played a part in the Dragons’ slide, with commentator Warren Smith recently saying the change was a distraction.

Smith cheekily compared Widdop’s new hair to Dragons legend Graeme Langlands having a shocker in the 1975 grand final while wearing white boots – something players never did in those days.

“The moment you go and do that (bleach your hair), you are courting disaster,” Smith told the Take Me Now, I Have Seen It All podcast.

“It’s almost ‘Changa’ and his white boots from the ‘75 Grand Final.

Gareth Widdop with black hair during the round 17 NRL match against the Melbourne Storm. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Gareth Widdop with black hair during the round 17 NRL match against the Melbourne Storm. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

” … I’m taking the mickey a little bit, but let’s think about it. He goes and does it and then he turns up to training — now what do you think psychologically is happening the first time he turns up? He is thinking, ‘what are all the boys going to say about this, I’m going to cop it’.

“… It’s a distraction, get rid of it. Just get back to being able to focus, not having this anxiety about what the boys are going to say.

“I know it seems like a ridiculous old fuddy-duddy ‘get off my lawn’ attitude, but at the heart of it, subconsciously, it can’t help but change his mindset in some small capacity.”

Former Dragons player Michael Ennis also suggested the timing was poor.

“He has definitely put a target on himself with that haircut,” Ennis told Fox Sports.

“I know it’s a minor thing, but it’s probably not the ideal time to do that given where the Dragons are at.”

Gareth Widdop’s blonde hair. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Gareth Widdop’s blonde hair. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise then that Widdop dislocated his shoulder in their 40-4 thrashing at the hands of the Eels on Saturday.

He won’t need surgery but St George Illawarra are unsure how long their captain will spend on the sidelines.

His shoulder was popped back in on the night but there were fears the star five-eighth could miss the rest of the NRL season.

That appears to have been scaled back but the Dragons won’t say when he will return.

“The initial scans of Widdop’s shoulder have been positive and indicate non-operative management at this point in time,” the club said on Monday.

“Widdop’s rate of progress through the early stages of rehab will dictate his trajectory to return to play.”

with AAP

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