Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has confirmed that Cory Paterson has requested an early release from his contract, while Salford City Reds have had a big money offer for skipper Michael Dobson rejected by the Robins.
Paterson joined the red and whites on a two-year deal last winter and has been one of the Robins’ stand-out players in 2013. However, he may now be heading back Down Under at the end of the current season as Hudgell explained.
"Cory has asked for a release on compassionate grounds,” he said. “He wants to go back to Australia to be with his family. He’s had a discussion with our CEO, Mike Smith, and is due to have a discussion with myself this week so we’re expecting to make an early decision on Cory’s situation.
“What will make it an easier decision to make is if we’ve found a recruit that we’re happy with and can come in and replace Cory. We’re very sympathetic towards his position but ultimately we have the club’s interests to look after and we’ll assess the situation on an ongoing basis.
“Family always has to come first and ultimately, whether it be for good reasons or bad reasons, if a players doesn’t want to be here, we’re not going to stand in their way.”
Meanwhile, Dobson’s future has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks with Salford in particular being strongly linked with the inspirational scrum-half. Hudgell revealed that the City Reds have already had a bid for Dobson turned down by the club and that the Australian has a release clause in his contract which would allow him to fulfil an ambition of returning to the NRL should the opportunity present itself.
“Michael is very intrinsic to what we’re trying to do going forward but the reality is that he has ambitions to play in the NRL again,” Hudgell continued. “He has a release clause in his contract which he would need to effect in the next week and I’ll be sitting down with him later this week. I’m also in regular contact with his agent and we should have an update on the situation fairly soon.
“If Michael doesn’t exercise the NRL release clause then I’ll be speaking to him about extending his contract beyond the end of next season. As a club, we’re not going to let the situation that we had with Scott Taylor re-occur with Michael or any of our leading players. I’d expect to try and agree a new deal with him during the course of this season and if that doesn’t happen then we’ll explore other options.
“Like I’ve already said, Michael is an ambitious player and he’s given us five years’ service. We agreed the option clause for the end of this season just to reflect the fact that we’re grateful for his contribution to the club during the past five years.
“There are always rumours about him, not just in Australia, but also in this country as well. We’ve had a big money offer from Salford for Michael which we’ve turned down. It may be that they come back knocking on our door again in the future and it may be that ourselves as a club, and Michael, have to consider that depending on how circumstances unravel. It’s a short career and players have to do what’s best for themselves. Michael will assess his own ambitions and determine the future career decisions he makes based upon that.”