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Wigan say Hock's loan spell to Widnes Vikings could be extended
11:38am Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in Vikings news
WIGAN Warriors have revealed that Widnes Vikings' season-long loan of England back rower Gareth Hock could be extended.
But for the moment, the agreement will see Vikings pay Wigan a 'significant ongoing but undisclosed fee' for Hock's services.
Wigan say Hock had insisted upon a move, that he no longer wished to play for them.
And with the League Leaders' Shield holders not allowing their contracted pack star to join one of their title rivals, Hock elected for the challenge of helping Widnes grow into a stronger force in their second season since returning to Super League.
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: “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 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 (Wigan coach) 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 since returning to play for Wigan.”