Wigan release Barrett

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The Independent Online

Wigan have bowed to the inevitable by agreeing to release Trent Barrett from the final year of his contract with the club.

After months of rumours, Barrett’s agent finally asked the club for an early release at the end of this season, because his wife is pregnant and homesick.

“In these particularly genuine circumstances, the Wigan club does not believe that forcing the player to honour his contract would be sensible,” said the Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan.

“An unsettled player might result in poor performances which are of no benefit to either party.”

Barrett was outstanding for Wigan in his first season with them last year, winning a host of individual prizes, but being controversially overlooked for the Man of Steel award.

He has been dogged with a knee injury this season, but has said that he intends to see out the campaign with Wigan. Even at 30, he will have no shortage of takers back in Australia, whilst Wigan might now have the slack in their salary cap to make a serious bid for the Kangaroo captain, Darren Lockyer.

David Vaealiki, who was at Wigan until the end of last season, has left Manly after just two matches to play rugby union in France.

The New Zealand coach, Stephen Kearney, says that he is still expecting Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai and Brent Webb of Leeds to report for Test duty next Monday, despite their clubs’ reluctance to release them for the match against Australia four days later. The game’s International Federation will rule on the issue, but will have to side with the Kiwis’ argument that Test commitments take precedence.

Celtic Crusaders, confident that their coach, John Dixon, will be staying with them despite being linked with the vacancy at the Catalan Dragons, launch rugby league’s weekend in Wales by facing Featherstone tonight.

The former Castleford winger, Luke Dyer, is in line for his first game since February, Jordan James returns after suspension, but Josh Hannay faces a fitness test.

Another National League One club, Whitehaven, have revealed at their AGM that they were one day away from going into administration last month before being bailed out by a £75,000 loan.

Wendell Sailor, the dual international coming to the end of his two year ban for taking cocaine, is to relaunch his career with the Newton Jets before taking up a contract with St George-Illawarra.

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