Widnes Vikings have agreed to release Will Matthews from his contract with the club on compassionate grounds to allow the forward to return to Australia.
The former Gold Coast and St George Illawarra forward signed a two-year deal in September but has since had a change of heart.
“I would like to apologise to the staff and supporters of Widnes Vikings for any inconvenience that the cancellation of my transfer causes,” said Matthews.
“This decision has been made purely for family reasons and I am sure that I will always feel an element of regret that I will not be able to play for Widnes Vikings in Super League.
“We have chosen to move back to the Gold Coast area, where I will pursue my career. Whilst we were excited to move to the Vikings, we have ultimately reflected that we need to remain close to our family and support networks, which are important to us at this time.
“I signed my contract with Widnes Vikings in good faith and the circumstances we face are entirely unforeseen.
“Once again, I apologise to the club for what has been one of the hardest decisions of my life, and would like to wish the Vikings and their supporters all the best for the future.”
Widnes Vikings CEO James Rule said the club was obviously disappointed to lose Matthews but understood that the situation had become untenable.
“Whilst Widnes Vikings are disappointed that Will Matthews will not feature for the team, ultimately we have had to accept that the termination of this deal is in the best interests of all parties,” said Rule.
“Moving abroad, especially to the other side of the world, can be a very difficult step for any player.
“As Will reached the very final stages of his move to the UK, it became clear that to both him and his family that they would be unable to see this decision through.”
Matthews will look to continue his rugby league career on the Gold Coast and could be a handy signing for the Titans with Brenton Lawrence retiring recently.