Widnes release Stanton Albert
Widnes have released Papua New Guinea international Stanton Albert from his contract on compassionate grounds.
The 22-year-old joined the Vikings in the off-season from Queensland Cup side PNG Hunters, alongside brother Wellington.
However, Stanton has found chances limited at the Vikings and will return to Papua New Guinea to pursue his career in his home country.
Widnes head coach Denis Betts says it is unfortunate that it didn’t work out for Albert.
He said: “This has been a difficult situation for both Stanton and the club, but ultimately we have had to understand and accept his decision.
“Moving to a new country and settling into a new team can be difficult, and Stanton unfortunately struggled to adjust to moving here in the way that his brother, Wellington, has. Having linked up with the Vikings late into the pre-season, it naturally took Stanton time to get into the condition required for first team action. When we signed Stanton, we also recognised that whilst he had great natural attributes, he also had aspects of his game that required development or adjustment to play competitively in the UK.
“Stanton had been working hard to break into the first team, and we provided focused training and loan appearances at our partners, North Wales Crusaders, to support that progress. Ultimately though, he faced a lot of competition in our forward pack and needed to remain patient to claim his spot in the team. Stanton is someone who wants to play regularly, and this experience has been challenging for him. As a group, we have all tried our best to support his development, make him feel welcome here and support his overall welfare.
“Whilst we believe that Stanton could have been a successful player in the long-term, with ongoing development, we reluctantly agreed to this termination. We hope that this is a positive step for him and wish him all the best for the future.”
And Albert, who was a star for Papua New Guinea at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, says the club will always stay in his heart.
He said: “I have been grateful for the opportunity to join the Vikings, but unfortunately things haven’t worked out as I hoped.
“As a player, it is important to me to feature regularly and I have found my chances limited whilst I adjust to this new environment. I believe that it is the right decision for me to return to my homeland, where I can play regularly.
“This has been a very difficult decision to make, and I am grateful to the coaches and directors for their understanding.
“I would like to thank the players and supporters for the brilliant welcome that they gave me to the club. I wish Widnes Vikings lots of success for the seasons ahead, and look forward to backing Wellington and all the boys as a supporter. Once a Viking, always a Viking.”