Updated: Sunday, 5th July 2020 @ 5:57am

I'll be back...and better! Lee Mossop excited by challenge after swapping Wigan Warriors for Sydney

I'll be back...and better! Lee Mossop excited by challenge after swapping Wigan Warriors for Sydney

By Thomas McCooey

Wigan Warriors prop Lee Mossop and controversial second row forward Gareth Hock will leave the DW Stadium to play in Australia for Parramatta Eels next season.

Both players will also join the Sydney-based NRL outfit in an innovative agreement which sees the Warriors receive a six-figure fee for each and first refusal should either come back to Super League.

And Mossop admitted he is excited by the challenge of heading Down Under to hone his skills before making a welcome return to the North West.

“I am really excited about this agreement with the Eels but will be delighted to return to Wigan in a couple of seasons’ time,” said Mossop.

“This is perfect timing for me to play in the NRL with an ambitious and growing club, having hopefully played for England in the world cup first.

“The Wigan club have been fantastic to me in my career and I would like to repay them for all the help they have given me already in progressing my career.”

Australia’s premier rugby league competition has lured the likes of James Graham, while Sam, Luke and Tom Burgess have left in recent years, with Wigan’s Sam Tomkins also rumoured to be following suit.

But Wigan owner and chairman, Ian Lenagan, is adamant the latest deal suits his club.

“We are confident such an agreement can benefit both parties hugely,” said Lenagan.

“This is a very positive arrangement we have agreed with Parramatta which allows them to sign two current English international players and gives Wigan the opportunity to re-sign them after some years of further development in the NRL.

“These are complex agreements. Lee Mossop is the classic example of a completely Wigan developed player.

“We are delighted even though he is in the middle of a contract to allow him to go to Parramatta and develop his game even more.

“He will come back almost certainly to Wigan.”

Lenagan also revealed a development strategy for the club in which he intends to see a player leave the club each season to play down under while bringing a rugby union star to Wigan every year until 2020.

He intends to see at least two home-grown players make first team debuts for the Warriors during this period in line with every season since he became chairman.

“The NRL is particularly strong at the moment but we in Super League are not so bad at all as well,” he added.

“The doom and gloom view I reject totally on behalf of Super League. This is a good strategy which is capable of keeping Wigan and Super League at the fore.

“This development strategy involves players leaving Wigan to go to the NRL.”

Image courtesy of Super League TV, via YouTube, with thanks
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