Niall Evalds has defended his decision to leave Salford and join Castleford, adding that he will remain a supporter of the Red Devils forever.
The 26-year-old full-back has agreed to join Castleford on a one-year contract for 2021, bringing his 11 years at Salford to an end.
The Red Devils released a statement on Tuesday saying they were “extremely disappointed” in Evalds’ decision to leave – but the England Knights international has had his say on the situation.
He tweeted: “This was never the way I expected things to go down. I wish I was able to make a comment sooner, it’s been a difficult couple of days but it wouldn’t sit right if I couldn’t say thank you.
“Thank you firstly to the fans, I’ve been at the club since I was 15 and I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of you personally. These 12 years have gone by so quickly and I’m so grateful.
“I’m grateful for my team-mates past and present, the coaching staff, physios, conditioners, Dennis my sponsor, Steve and my family.
“My whole career so far I’ve lived and breathed Salford, starting at the Willows, breaking the club’s all-time Super League try scoring record and last year getting to the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
“I’ve made the decision to leave the club at the end of the season and start a new chapter in my career. I know many of you won’t be happy with my decision but it’s one I didn’t take lightly.”
Evalds has scored 101 tries in 146 appearances for the Red Devils and is one of the club’s most prized assets after progressing through their academy.
And the Halifax-born player insists that he will give his all in the rest of his time at the AJ Bell Stadium.
He added: “There has been a lot said about me over the last few days, but I didn’t want to tarnish the many happy memories we’ve shared.
“Much of the stuff said has been an inaccurate version of events and one day I will share my side of the story, but for now I want nothing to distract me and my team-mates from achieving our goals when eventually we are back playing.
“As always, I will continue to give everything for this club and the fans until the last match I play for Salford. I hope we get to say goodbye to each other at the AJ Bell Stadium and you show me and my family the support you’ve continuously shown us over the years.
“I will always be a Salford fan and wish the club nothing but success for the future. Thank you to the many Salford fans who’ve sent supportive messages, however, to those not so kind please be respectful that my partner and family can read what has been said about me. Words hurt. Mental health is real.
“I also want to add that this is a decision I made by myself. Agents are there to guide players and ultimately, the decision was mine and mine alone. Once again, I’d like to thank you all and hope everyone is safe and well in these difficult times. Now let’s all get behind finishing the season as best we can together and get the AJ Bell Stadium rocking.”
— Niall Evalds (@NEvalds1993) May 13, 2020
Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.