Updated: Sunday, 8th December 2019 @ 5:52am

‘A line has to be drawn’: Wigan Warriors chairman slams Gareth Hock following Widnes Vikings move

‘A line has to be drawn’: Wigan Warriors chairman slams Gareth Hock following Widnes Vikings move

By Mark Shales

Wigan Warriors second rower Gareth Hock may never play for the club again, according to chairman Ian Lenagan.

The England international joined Widnes Vikings on a season-long loan yesterday prompting an explanation from the Warriors via their website.

Wigan stood by the 29-year-old through a two-year drugs ban – after testing positive for cocaine in 2009 – but Lenagan now feels betrayed by his decision.

“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,” said the 66-year-old businessman.

“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.”

Hock almost completed a move to Australia in October, but talks with NRL side Parramatta Eels broke down, keeping him at the DW Stadium.

The Wigan-born forward featured heavily for the Warriors last year – his first full season since his ban – but was not given a starting squad number for 2013.

Despite the switch Hock will remain registered with the Warriors but is banned from playing against his parent club in any competitions.

Lenagn added: “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.

“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.”

Picture courtesy of mortonstalker, with thanks

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