Huddersfield confirm O’Donnell release

James Gordon

Huddersfield have confirmed the release of back-rower Luke O’Donnell.

O’Donnell, 32, had been subject of a bid from Sydney Roosters, which the Giants turned down, but he has now left the John Smith’s Stadium by mutual agreement, to enabling him to sign a deal in the NRL.

The Australian, who joined Huddersfield at the start of 2011, was limited to just 26 appearances in the Claret and Gold due to injury.

Giants Managing Director Richard Thewlis said: “Firstly I would say that deep down neither Luke nor the club wanted this outcome of an early release to be how things panned out. However, the reality is that Luke is financially in a different place now to that envisaged when he joined at the start of the 2011 season. The changing regulations in respect of off shore pensions have caused him significant difficulties – as I am sure it must have for other overseas players in the UK  – but fortunately for him an opportunity has arisen back home which will help him going forward.

“We do not wish to stand in the way of a longer term opportunity for him as next year’s Giants contract was an option we held and we would have wanted to see a long consistent run of appearances before we would commit to the fourth year which understandably was important for Luke. In a nutshell he understands where we are coming from, we understand his frustrations and we have simply have shaken hands, wished each other all the very best and we each move on.

“I am sure that he leaves some good friends behind here and for our part whilst we never saw him at his consistent week in week out best due to injuries he has been a superb professional to have in the club. I believe helped us lift our standards throughout the club and been a great role model to our younger forwards, some of whom must now look to take the opportunity that this presents to them.

“I would finish by saying that there have been no deals done in respect of Luke’s playing registration and he is free to choose his next destination back home down under.”