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Championship side lose star player on eve of season as he returns to Australia

York RLFC have confirmed that Knights half-back Brendan O’Hagan has been granted a release from his contract and has left the club.

O’Hagan joined York ahead of the 2021 season and went on to make 27 appearances, scoring 12 tries and one field-goal.

The Ireland international, who earned the heritage number #1884, was part of the Knights side that finished in the Betfred Championship play-offs last season.

O’Hagan, who informed his team-mates of the news at training last night, departs the Club in order to return to his native Australia and spend more time with his family and loved ones.

O’Hagan said: “It’s been a long and hard-thought decision. For my personal life at the moment, it’s the right time to be back home in Australia and a lot closer to my family.

“It’s tough going across the other side of the world without your family around you. Now is the right time for myself and my family to go back and be a lot closer to them.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in York but going back home in the off-season to see my family for the first time since moving away, it really made my decision about what I want.

“Over the last few months, it’s been tough and I’m happy with the decision I’ve made.”

On his stint at York, O’Hagan added: “I’ve loved my time here. It’s been a beautiful place to live and been such a great Club to play for.

“My time here has been unreal. The fans have been so welcoming and I want to thank the Club for bringing me over and the playing group, who are a great bunch of blokes.

“In the wider community, I’ve been taken in with open arms and it’s made my stay here a lot easier than others could imagine and I want to thank them for that.

“It’s just a shame that it’s had to come to an end now.

“The Club is moving forward and I’m so happy to have been part of the journey.

“I wish the Club nothing but success in the coming years. I’m sure that in the next few years, they’ll be up in Super League and be a heavy-hitter there too.”

Knights Head Coach Andrew Henderson said: “It’s really disappointing because I know what a quality player and person Brendan is.

“It’s disappointing that he doesn’t feel like York is the place for him at this time and he wants to return home

“I was looking forward to working with him and developing him further as a player and a person and I know he had quality which would have added to this team.

“But the reality is you can’t control how people are thinking and feeling.

“He felt like, having not been home in a number of years, he really missed being home and asked for a release and I’m not going to stand in anyone’s way.

“This is just another challenge you face as a Head Coach and we’ll get through it.

“We’ve got two quality fit half-backs in Liam Harris and Ata Hingano, with Jamie Ellis on the return.

“Plus we’ve got Jesse Dee and Matty Marsh who can play in the halves too.

“I’ve got confidence that whoever we choose in the half-back positions will understand our systems, what we need and they’ll deliver.

“As much as Brendan will be sadly missed by the Club and his team-mates, we’ll manage to carry on.”

York RLFC Chairman Clint Goodchild said: “We are saddened by Brendan’s departure, not only for his on-field abilities but also for what he has done for the Club off the field.

“As an active member of the community here in York, Brendan has served as a wonderful representative of the Club.

“We are supportive of Brendan as he returns to Australia and I can speak first hand to the difficulties of being away from family for long periods of time.

“Brendan now has clarity over his future and feels the time is now right to depart.

“He will forever be welcome in York and we thank him for all he has done for the Club.”

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