Wigan Warriors announce that Back-rower Gareth Hock has joined Widnes Vikings on a season long loan for the forthcoming Super League campaign. The deal until November 2013 could then be extended further. The agreement will see the Widnes Vikings pay Wigan a significant ongoing but undisclosed fee for Hock's services.
Following Hock's demands for more money in mid-season, insistence at short notice in October on a move to Australia and discussions instigated by the player in December around his request to move to another Super League club, Gareth Hock refused completely after Christmas to return to rehabilitation and pre-season training at Wigan. He informed Wigan Warriors that he would not be continuing his career at the Club, expected the Club to sack him and insisted upon a move elsewhere.
Chairman Ian Lenagan commented;
"Gareth Hock has made it clear in face-to-face discussions with me and via his agent that he has no intention of playing for the Wigan Club. This is hugely disappointing to me, to the Wigan fans and to the Club who have all treated him well.
"We have gone to unique lengths to help him get his life back on track after his ban two years ago including increasing his Contract voluntarily on two separate occasions to help him financially against a backdrop of his threats to leave. The Wigan Club has consistently supported the player and has done all that any Club could be asked to do.
"We acceded to his recent request for a move to Australia on the basis that a change of environment and a different competition might be good socially for him, provided it was also financially beneficial to Wigan. However, this did not transpire. Even though better offers have been now received, he has made it clear he does not now wish to move to Australia and will not play for Wigan.
"A line has to be drawn at some stage and whilst with immense regret at losing a player of Gareth's quality, who I believe is still a Wiganer at heart, we have concluded that that time is now for the good of the 2013 Wigan Squad, the Coaching Staff and for the Wigan fans.
"Since I and Wigan are not prepared to allow Gareth Hock to play for one of our major competitors, we have decided to retain his Registration and to allow him to move on loan to Widnes Super League Club with whom we have an excellent relationship. He is not allowed to play against Wigan in any competitions.
"In terms of rationale, it is known that Gareth was upset that Shaun Wane took away his number 12 Squad Number - hardly surprising in the light of his expected departure to Australia - but we were expecting him to concentrate on his injury rehabilitation and to fight for his place in the Team.
"Having stood by Gareth Hock, we feel let down by his attitude under both Michael Maguire and Shaun Wane since returning to play for Wigan.
"I have instructed Wigan staff to now leave this issue behind, concentrate upon the coming season and make no further comment."