CONTROVERSIAL FORMER England forward Gareth Hock has claimed he had talks with Leeds Rhinos over a move to Headingley.
In his autobiography, to be released this week by Leeds-based publishers Scratching Shed, Hock says he met Rhinos coach Brian McDermott at a motorway service station after falling out with Salford Red Devils. He also claims to have attracted interest from Castleford Tigers at the end of the 2014 season, before eventually deciding to remain at Salford.
Hock began his career with Wigan Warriors, but was banned for two years after testing positive for cocaine.
He had a spell at Widnes Vikings before joining Salford, but was put up for sale after being banned for seven games for making illegal contact with a referee.
“They transfer-listed me and Marwan Koukash [Salford’s owner] made it quite clear he wanted to recoup the money he’d splashed out,” the player says in his book Hock: The Real Me.
“I actually spoke to Leeds and met the Rhinos coach Brian McDermott at Charnock Richard Services to discuss a move to Headingley – but nowt came of it.
“There was even interest from French rugby union, along with approaches from the two Hull clubs and Castleford.
“The big asking price was a stumbling block – Marwan wouldn’t entertain a loan deal.”
Hock, who was thrown out of England’s 2013 World Cup squad for disciplinary reasons, was released by Salford mid-way through last season and is now at Leigh Centurions.
He also claims he was “depressed and suicidal” during his drugs ban and admits: “I’ve always been easily led and willpower has never been a strength.
“What I did was utter madness.”
Hock: The Real Me is released on Friday, priced £9.99.