Widnes grant Anthony Gelling temporary leave

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Widnes have granted centre Anthony Gelling temporary leave to help his young family move to the UK.

Gelling, 28, has scored five tries in six games for the Vikings in the Championship this season, but will miss this weekend’s game against Rochdale and the upcoming Challenge Cup clash at Oldham.

A club statement said: “Anthony, who has a wife and two children on the other side of the world, has headed back Down Under to be with his young family, helping them to prepare things ahead of their impending move to the United Kingdom.

“Anthony and his wife welcomed his daughter, Manaia, into the world in late December. After spending just a couple of weeks with his family and newly-born daughter, he returned to Widnes for the club’s pre-season ahead of the Betfred Championship campaign.

“The ex-Wigan and New Zealand Warriors centre has applied himself superbly, both on and off the field, since his arrival at the club and will look to continue that fine form upon his return.”

Widnes’ new owners are still waiting to have their business plan signed off by the RFL, which has prevented them from registering recent signings Dom Speakman and Luis Johnson.

There are understood to be some concerns about the budgeting for the remainder of the season, given that all season ticket and sponsorship revenue was eaten up by the club’s former owners.

Encouraging attendances averaging 5,500 in their last two home games may provide some assurance to RFL officials.

Since entering administration, the Vikings have lost Sam Walters and Jarrod O’Connor to Leeds and Liam Hood to Leigh, while Krisnan Inu, Wellington Albert and Adam Tangata were all released.

Speakman, who was on trial at the club during the off-season, and Johnson, a loan capture from Warrington, were both at Widnes’ win over Bradford on Sunday in club colours.

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