Rowley “would love” to have Hock at Leigh

Gareth Hock is being linked with a move to Leigh
Gareth Hock is being linked with a move to Leigh

LEIGH coach Paul Rowley says the club would be interested in signing Gareth Hock.

The former Wigan second-rower who last night left Salford will not be able to play in any case until Easter after being handed a six-match ban by the Rugby Football League after being found guilty of two separate offences of kneeing opponents in the match against St Helens.

But Leigh have been linked with the 31-year-old and Rowley said: “We would love to have Gareth Hock at the club, he’s a wonderful player. Gareth has been linked with the club, as has a number of high-profile players, there is nothing more to say.”

Salford owner Marwan Koukash has urged Hock to take a break from the game.

Hock, who spent 2013 on loan to Widnes after falling out with his hometown club, missed the end of last season after being banned for seven games for deliberately making contact with a referee and submitted a transfer request in September before later withdrawing it.

Koukash said: “I really don’t know what he wants to do. I’m sure there will be some interest.

“He hasn’t been sacked or shown the door. We’ve just had conversations over the last 10 days and came up with a deal that was his choice and I have to respect it.

“Regardless what people think of him, deep down he is a very nice person and I will continue to help him.

“I texted him first thing this morning to see how he is and to invite him to the match on Saturday to say goodbye to the fans and the players.

“You just can’t abandon players.

“It maybe in the best interests of Gareth now to experience a new environment, maybe take a break from rugby league to sort out his personal issues and whatever and come back a stronger person.”

Hock served a two-year ban from 2009-10 for cocaine use and was thrown out of the England squad on the eve of the 2013 World Cup for a breach of discipline but he remains one of the most powerful forwards in Super League.