Gareth Hock: Widnes Vikings Sign Wigan Warriors Forward On Loan

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Widnes Vikings have signed England international forward Gareth Hock on loan from Wigan for the 2013 season.

Gareth Hock

Widnes Vikings have signed England international forward Gareth Hock on loan from Wigan for the 2013 season.

The 29-year-old back-rower almost completed a move to Australia in October, but talks over a transfer to NRL side Parramatta Eels broke down.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenegan said Hock had "let down" Warriors and had "no intention" of playing for them again.

The deal is another sizeable transfer coup for Widnes, who finished bottom of Super League last year.

Half-back Kevin Brown could make his Vikings debut in the season opener at London Broncos on 3 February after his move from Huddersfield Giants last summer, providing he recovers fully from ankle surgery.  And Widnes will pay a "significant, ongoing but undisclosed" fee for Hock, who was named in Super League's Dream Team last season, and who could extend his stay with the Vikings beyond the end of the campaign.

The Wigan-born player, who recently had shoulder surgery, is contracted to the Warriors until the end of 2015.

But in a statement released by Wigan on Tuesday morning,  Hock was heavily criticised, with the club saying he refused to train with them in order to force a move away.

"Following his 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."

Lenegan's comments come after the club retained Hock's services while he served a two-year ban after testing positive for cocaine in 2009.

"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.

"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 Wigan squad, the coaching staff and for the Wigan fans," continued Lenegan.

"Since I and Wigan are not prepared to allow Gareth 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."