Hull Kingston Rovers have confirmed that co-captain Josh Hodgson will join NRL side Canberra Raiders at the end of the current Super League season.
The Robins have agreed a substantial transfer fee with the Raiders for the services of the influential hooker, who has penned a two-year contract with Canberra from 2015.
Hodgson joined Rovers from rivals Hull FC in 2010 and has gone on to make more than 100 appearances for the club as well as earning international recognition for the England Knights and a call-up to Steve McNamara’s training squad for this season’s Four Nations.
Speaking to www.hullkr.co.uk about the move, Hodgson said it had been a difficult decision to leave the club but that he felt the time was right to test himself in the Australian competition.
“This opportunity has come at the right time for me and it’s full credit to Hull KR for allowing the move to happen. It’s an exciting time in my career and I’m looking forward to getting across to Canberra next season,” said Hodgson, who was contracted to the Robins for a further two years.
“Hull KR took a chance on me five years ago when I first came to the club and I was grateful for that. I’ve always done my best to repay the faith they showed in me and it was a really tough decision to leave.
“I’ve always had an ambition to play in the NRL and I felt I would have had regrets later in my career if I didn’t take this opportunity.
“However, I’ve always given 110 per cent in every game I’ve played for the club and that’s something I’ll continue to do for the rest of the season. I’ve been here for five years now and I’d love to go out on a high.”
Meanwhile, Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell paid tribute to Hodgson and wished him well for next season and beyond, whilst also confirming the Robins have first refusal on the No.9 should he return to Super League.
He added: “Whilst we are disappointed to lose a player of Josh’s calibre, we fully understand his reasons for wanting to test himself in the NRL.
“As you would expect from Josh, he has been honest with the club from the start of these discussions and we have secured a substantial fee from Canberra as well as agreeing first refusal on Josh if he comes back to the UK.
“He has been a dedicated and consistent professional during his time at the club and we wish him well.”