Gareth Hock: The biggest wasted talent in Rugby League?

On Tuesday night Gareth Hock and the Salford Red Devils both confirmed that Hock would leave the club with immediate effect.

His tweet read “I av now left Salford from today I would like to thank the club & Marwan for the support & help and the fans wish them all the best.”

His departure has come in light of a recent six match ban being handed to him for a use of his knees on two occasions during

Gareth Hock playing for Salford
         Gareth Hock playing for Salford

the recent hammering against St Helens. In addition his Twitter account was also being looked at for alleged homophobic abuse.

Hock signed with Salford at the beginning of 2014 as a part of Dr Koukash’s hefty investment which has also seen players such as Rangi Chase, Kevin Locke and Francis Meli come in.

However it hasn’t gone to plan for either Salford or Hock in the t few seasons. Salford failed to make the play-offs last season which was their aim whilst Gareth Hock had a very inconsistent season which again involved a hefty ban.

Hock’s disciplinary record in recent times really is something to behold, and not in a positive way.

A list of Hocks major bans:

  • July 2008 – Handed five game ban for grabbing referee Ian Smith
  • July 2009 – Given two year ban for testing positive for cocaine
  • September 2011 – Given five match ban for gouging and punching Warrington’s Ben Harrison
  • May 2013 – Received four match ban for deliberate contact with official George Stokes vs Workington
  • October 2013 – Thrown out of England World Cup squad for several breaches of discipline
  • July 2014 – Handed seven match ban for deliberately colliding with official Matt Thomason vs Hull
  • February 2015 – Received six game ban for use of knees vs Saints

He has missed a total of fifteen games through coming into contact with officials in a Sport which prides itself on its respect for referee’s and touch judges. As well as a serious two year ban for drug abuse.

Hock since 2008
                  Hock since 2008

All of these, added with the occasional reported incident or red card, have led Hock to miss a total of 102 games since 2008. He has only managed to get onto the field 110 times in the time frame. A truly unbelievable statistic.

However there is no denying his ability on the field. A hard-hitting in your face forward who won’t take a back step which every side in Super League needs and thrives upon. What side wouldn’t want a man that stands at 6’3 and weighs around 16 stone in their pack?

In his return to the Wigan after his two year suspension he arguably stole the show against Huddersfield with his dominant performance. He seemingly was continuing where he left off when he was one of the top forwards in the Wigan side and in Super League.

One huge talent he has are his offloading capabilities. Often Hock will break a tackle and get rid of the ball onto a onrushing back which would be ideal at Salford with the likes of Rangi Chase, Kevin Locke and Theo Fages. Unfortunately however he just hasn’t shown this enough in front of the Red Devils supporters.

The big second-rower also has a solid try scoring record. He managed an average of one every four games for Wigan. Whilst at Widnes he crossed the line 10 times in only 18 appearances followed by 6 tries in 16 appearances for Salford.

With all this in his favour its no wonder he has made 4 appearances for Great Britain and 5 for England, respectively. He was also included in the 2013 World Cup squad before managing to get himself kicked out. Every time he has slipped on the red and white of England he has performed well but he is a liability.

His career did seem to be going in the right direction up until his ban for cocaine at Wigan. Since then it has been relatively unsuccessful spells at Widnes and Salford where he has let himself down. A move to NRL side Parramatta was rumoured and could have re-ignited his career however this fell through.

Hock played for amateur side Wigan St Judes before signing for Wigan Warriors. Possibly the move away from Wigan, his hometown where he’d played all his Rugby, has turned out to be more difficult than he expected? Only Gareth Hock knows this and can prove us wrong.

It would be a gamble for any side who brings in Gareth Hock now, he has almost become the Mario Balotelli of Rugby League. However Championship clubs Bradford and Leigh are rumoured to be interested along with a few Super League clubs who may take the risk hoping he comes good. He could also make the switch to Rugby Union.

I don’t think there is one Rugby League fan who would deny Hock’s innate Rugby League ability. However it seems his career will be remembered for controversy and incident rather than his talent.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s