Hock can’t wait to get stuck into Salford

Gareth Hock
Gareth Hock

GARETH Hock has broken his silence over the row which has dominated the build-up to Saturday’s fifth round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against his old club Salford.

The former Wigan and England forward has been warned by Red Devils owner Dr Marwan Koukash that if he plays he will face legal action because he will be in breach of an agreement he signed on leaving the Super League club.

But Hock,who scored two tries on his Centurions debut against Workington Town on Easter Monday said today: “Leigh say I’m eligible and that’s good enough for me. I’m enjoying playing my rugby at Leigh.”

The row over Hock’s eligibility to play sparked a Twitter spat between Dr Koukash and Leigh’s head of rugby Derek Beaumont. This week Leigh said they intended to select Hock having taken legal advice. But the player himself has stayed clear of the controversy.

“I will leave the social media to him (Dr Koukash),” said Hock. “I haven’t spoken to him since I left Salford but haven’t fallen out with him either.

“I am at a good club with a good staff which is well run and I am enjoying it here.

“I have nothing to prove to Salford. I am looking forward to getting stuck in and getting one over on them. I wasn’t enjoying my rugby at Salford. I didn’t like the vibe but that’s gone now and I’ve put it behind me.”

Leigh are on a club record breaking winning run of 20 games and currently top the Kingstone Press Championship. But they are still underdogs against the cashed-up Red Devils for Saturday’s game at the Sports Village.

Hock said: “It’s going to be good on Saturday and I am really confident we can beat them.

“Leigh’s potential is really good. I’m shocked how good they are. They are very physical and play well with the ball in hand.

“I think we can get into Super League. They were already doing well when I arrived and they can benefit from my aggression and experience.

“I have joined a really close knit group and it is right up my street. I feel at home here and Paul Rowley is a fantastic coach. We want to get this game out of the way and focus back on the Championship and getting into Super League. But if we turn Salford over on Saturday we will know where we stand.”

Hock was speaking at Ladbrokes’ Spinning Gate branch in Leigh which is managed by former Centurions player David Ingram. He was a member of the Leigh side which pulled off a famous Challenge Cup upset against Salford in 2001.