6th December 2017, 15:20 | Widnes

Widnes confirm Matthews release

Widnes confirm Matthews release

Widnes Vikings have released new signing Will Matthews from his contract on compassionate grounds.

The Australian forward penned a two-year deal in September but has performed a U-turn.

"I would like to apologise to the staff and supporters of Widnes Vikings for any inconvenience that the cancellation of my transfer causes," said Matthews.

"This decision has been made purely for family reasons and I am sure that I will always feel an element of regret that I will not be able to play for Widnes Vikings in Super League. We have chosen to move back to the Gold Coast area, where I will pursue my career.

"Whilst we were excited to move to the Vikings, we have ultimately reflected that we need to remain close to our family and support networks, which are important to us at this time. I signed my contract with Widnes Vikings in good faith and the circumstances we face are entirely unforeseen.

"Once again, I apologise to the club for what has been one of the hardest decisions of my life, and would like to wish the Vikings and their supporters all the best for the future."

Widnes have vowed to replace the former Gold Coast and St George Illawarra player.

"Whilst Widnes Vikings are disappointed that Will Matthews will not feature for the team, ultimately we have had to accept that the termination of this deal is in the best interests of all parties," said chief executive James Rule.

"Moving abroad, especially to the other side of the world, can be a very difficult step for any player. As Will reached the very final stages of his move to the UK, it became clear that to both him and his family that they would be unable to see this decision through.

"Naturally, this decision has surprised us. Unfortunately, whilst we would have hoped that such concerns would have been raised before signing a contact, we have to accept the reality of this situation.

"To pursue the contract could see the club waste money and energy on a legal battle, which neither we nor Will wanted, or put the player in an untenable situation. Instead, we have sought to move on and take advantage of the opportunity to invest the money assigned to Will's contact into strengthening the team."

Meanwhile, Widnes have agreed a tenancy extension with Halton Borough Council to remain at the Halton Stadium until at least 2022.