Mark Riddell is to leave Wigan at the end of this season and return to Australia because his mother is ill. The hooker was contracted until the end of the 2011 season, but has told the club that he needs to go home early.
"I'm very disappointed that I'll be leaving. We're going very well this season and I love it here," he said. "I stewed over it for a long time, but I had to put family first."
Riddell's departure after two seasons in which he has been increasingly impressive could hasten the arrival of a new half-back, such as Melbourne's Brett Finch, with Thomas Leuluai and Michael McIlorum sharing the hooking duties next season.
Finch is also being linked with Hull KR, however, while Wigan are interested in Harlequins' England forward Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
As an exercise in squad stability, it would be hard to match Leeds' announcement yesterday that all seven of their out-of- contract players have signed up again for next season.
Keith Senior, Kylie Leuluai, Scott Donald, Matt Diskin, Danny Buderus, Ali Lauitiiti and Ryan Bailey have all agreed extended deals. The club regards that as a major boost on the eve of one of the pivotal matches of the season, against St Helens on Saturday, a game Saints' full-back Paul Wellens will miss with head and back injuries.
Nick Scruton, the Bradford prop who earned a place in the England squad last month, will be out for up to 10 weeks with knee ligament damage.
Oldham have extended their loan of the Huddersfield scrum-half Gregg McNally for the rest of the season. The former Hull coach Royce Simmons, meanwhile, is one of a shortlist of candidates for the vacancy at St Helens.Reuse content