Salford Red Devils have confirmed fullback Gareth O’Brien is set to join Toronto Wolfpack.
As reported in League Express today, the 26-year-old has completed a move to the Canadian club after they paid an undisclosed fee to secure his services.
However, the Red Devils claim they only approved the deal after O’Brien’s representatives asked for permission to speak to the Wolfpack, having initially turned down an approach.
Salford claim O’Brien told the club he did not wish to leave and they subsequently told Toronto he was not for sale, only for a change of heart a day later.
The statement reads: “At the end of last week the club were approached by Toronto with an official offer for Gareth. The club made Gareth aware of the interest and he informed the Red Devils he did not wish to leave.
“This offer was turned down and it was reiterated to Toronto that Gareth was not for sale on the basis the club neither wanted nor needed to sell.
“Representatives for the player returned the next day requesting permission for Gareth to speak to the Wolfpack.
“The Red Devils while disappointed in this sudden change of heart but, not wishing to retain a player who was not 100% committed to Salford Red Devils, granted the appropriate permission.
“Salford Red Devils then issued an undisclosed fee for the transfer which was met and the player has since agreed personal terms with the Wolfpack over the weekend.
“Salford Red Devils are keen to maintain a squad that is fully motivated and committed.”
Meanwhile, the capture is a significant boost to Toronto and their Super League ambitions.
Head coach Paul Rowley said: “An opportunity came up to bring in a quality fullback like Gareth and it was too good to miss.
“It’s rare that a player of his ability becomes available and so, with one eye on succession planning and also the immediate, we have no hesitation in bringing Gareth to the club.
“The competition for places will continue to increase along with our efforts to progress further as the season unfolds.”