Full-back Zak Hardaker has been sacked by Castleford Tigers following a failed drugs test last year – effectively becoming a free agent.
The 26-year-old had been suspended since October after testing positive for cocaine towards the end of the 2017 Super League season and is awaiting the outcome of his UK Anti-Doping case.
Hardaker won the Man of Steel award in 2015 and has been capped five times by England.
The club said: “Castleford Tigers can confirm that Zak Hardaker has been dismissed from his contract with the club.
“Hardaker, was suspended by the club after a failing a drugs test in the weeks leading up to the 2017 Super League Grand Final, and currently awaits the outcome of his case from UK Anti-Doping organisation.
“Castleford Tigers will comment on this matter further when UKAD conclude their case.”
Castleford head coach Daryl Powell announced at the club’s pre-season media day in early January that the Tigers had helped Hardaker find a job outside rugby league, but revealed at his weekly press conference today that the player was no longer part of the club.
“He’s not under contract with us because obviously he was sacked, having done what he’s done,” Powell said.
And on speculation linking Hardaker with Super League rival club, Wigan Warriors, Powell added: “Why clubs would be talking to him at this point ... it hasn’t even been decided what ban it is.”