Featherstone Rovers: Hock exit might not be cash-conscious Rovers’ last admits coach Duffy

Featherstone boss John Duffy.
Featherstone boss John Duffy.

FEATHERSTONE Rovers boss John Duffy admits he is not sure whether Gareth Hock will be the only departure as part of the club’s cost-cutting measures.

They have announced that the ex-Great Britain forward has agreed mutual terms for a release from his contract as Rovers ‘pro-actively look to restructure for 2019’. Former Wigan Warriors star Hock, who turns 35 next month, joined at the start of this season and made his mark quickly for the Championship outfit.

Gareth Hock and John Duffy. PIC: Featherstone Rovers RLFC

Gareth Hock and John Duffy. PIC: Featherstone Rovers RLFC

Only in June he signed a new deal for 2019 but Featherstone then failed to make the top-four and are also expecting a reduction in central funds next term.

Duffy said: “I’m disappointed to lose Gaz. He’s been great around the club and around the lads while he’s enjoyed his rugby. But it’s just where we find ourselves financially after the end to the season we had.

“I’m not sure [if there will be any more departures], to be fair, and I’ll probably find out later this week.

“We wish Gaz well. He’s had a good year and there’ll be plenty of interest for him so I’m sure he’ll get picked up.”

Jay Walton. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Jay Walton. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Meanwhile, Featherstone look set to be without forward Jay Walton for the remainder of the campaign after he dislocated a knee in Sunday’s 33-24 win at Rochdale Hornets.

“He’s just come back from another knee injury and now he’s done this,” said Duffy.

“I think that’ll be him gone for the year now. Our winger Dakota Whylie got a concussion, too, so he’ll be on a seven-day return-to-play protocol. I’m just glad we’ve got this weekend off with it being Wembley.”

On the Championship Shield victory, Duffy added: “We were poor. There were too many errors from us. The weather made the ball a bit slippy and we talked about that but still erred.

“I was just happy in the end to come away with the two points.

“It ended up being a tough game and we had to do more work in defence.”