Widnes Vikings have released young homegrown winger Jack Owens, despite the 21-year-old still having a year remaining on his contract with the club.
Owens scored 30 tries in 87 appearances since making his debut for the club in 2011, but will leave the club a year early in anticipation of him taking up a deal elsewhere.
“Having looked at the balance of our squad we felt that Pat Ah Van, Paddy Flynn, Stefan Marsh, Rhys Hanbury and Corey Thompson were ahead of Jack in terms of our back three options,” said Widnes coach Denis Betts.
“In addition in a salary cap managed sport we are tasked with making difficult decisions to facilitate improvement.
“We have already invested heavily in securing the signings of Setaimata Sa, Chris Bridge, Corey Thompson and Charly Runciman. In addition there are a number of contractual upgrades within the existing group of players which further increases the financial investment by the club into the playing group.
“In order to manage these costs within the constraints of the salary cap it is necessary to make difficult decisions such as this. We therefore agreed to an early release for Jack to allow him to pursue more regular playing opportunities.
“On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to thank Jack for his contribution to Widnes Vikings and wish him the best of luck in his future career.”
Owens is being linked with a move to St Helens in 2016.