Chase for Hock hots up

Gareth Hock
Gareth Hock

GARETH Hock could play against Wigan this year with at least two other Super League clubs keen to sign him.

They have been alerted to his apparent unrest at the Warriors and it’s understood chairman Ian Lenagan could be prepared to part with the England forward if the price is right.

Previously, it was thought Hock wanted to test himself in the NRL after a move to Parramatta collapsed last autumn.

But this latest development could see him stay in Super League.

Widnes have already been linked with the blockbusting back-rower.

Hock has strong ties to staff at the Vikings – his brother-in-law is captain Kevin Brown and he has played alongside and been coached by Denis Betts.

The Cheshire outfit – bankrolled by haulage tycoon Steve O’Connor – also have cash to spend as they attempt to establish themselves among the competition’s top clubs.

But other outfits have sniffed around and there was suggestion last night that Salford could be in the frame.

Such a move may seem laughable on the surface given their current financial woes, but the Reds are hopeful of being rescued by millionaire Marwan Koukash and – if the takeover goes through – he may want a headline-grabbing recruit as a signal of his intent.

Ex-Wigan coach Graham Lowe has already been touted as a possible new chief executive of the Reds.

Koukash is expected to be a guest at the City of Salford Stadium for their friendly against the Warriors tomorrow night.

Hock got back to his best under Shaun Wane’s control last season – having returned from a doping ban the previous year – and was named in the Super League DreamTeam.

But he had mixed fortunes for England and, after a move to the Eels fell through, he lost his starting Wigan No.12 shirt to Liam Farrell – a sign, perhaps, that he had slipped down the pecking order.

Wane refused to comment about Hock’s situation and a Warriors spokesman offered a firm “no comment” – silence which may serve to fan the flames.