London Broncos have been left disappointed after Andy Ackers joined Toronto Wolfpack, just days after the Wigan-born forward was granted a release due to apparent homesickness.
The 23-year-old was one of the Broncos key players in the 2017 season and played a major part in their fantastic run to the Super 8s Qualifiers.
However, the club allowed Ackers to leave last week to be closer to his family, only for him to sign for Championship rivals Toronto three days later.
A statement released on the London Broncos website, reads: “London Broncos Rugby League would like to reiterate that Andy Ackers was granted an early release from his contract with the club due to his request of returning home for family reasons.
“Out of sympathy, the club reluctantly agreed to grant Ackers a release from the final year of his contract given the nature of his apparent homesickness, and his desire to be nearer to his family.
“To learn now of a deal with Toronto Wolfpack is hugely disappointing for the club. Based on the 2017 calendar, penning a deal with the Wolfpack could see Ackers away from home for up to three months while the home fixtures are fulfilled over the summer.
“This, in turn, results in not only an increase in time spent away from home, but also at a much greater distance from his family than if he were to remain living in London.”
Toronto, who have just gained promotion to the Championship, are backed by wealthy owner David Argyle and have just bought Joe Westerman from Warrington for £130,000.
The Wolfpack will be one of London’s promotion rivals next season and Broncos chairman David Hughes has been left angered by their latest piece of business.
“It is hugely disappointing for the club that we have done what we perceive to be the right and gracious thing – allowing a young homesick player to go home and live nearer to his family – to have it essentially thrown back in our faces,” he said.
“The London Broncos coaching staff have spent a great deal of time and effort in developing Ackers into one of our stronger players, and he now leaves a better player than when he arrived. His departure is a big loss to our squad.
“We will certainly not hold any player in London against his will, and can understand only too well that family comes first, but will not hide the fact that club is dissatisfied with the outcome of granting this early release.”