Huddersfield Giants: Luke O'Donnell departure confirmed

Luke O'Donnell

Huddersfield have released former Australian Test forward Luke O'Donnell by mutual agreement to allow him sign a 12-month deal with Sydney Roosters.

The 32-year-old had 12 months remaining on his three-year Giants contract.

O'Donnell made just 23 appearances in two injury-hit seasons in Super League, but impressed during Huddersfield's 40-4 win at St Helens 11 days ago.

Family homesickness and unhappiness over tightened tax regulations are the issues behind the move.

A week ago the Giants rejected a player exchange deal proposed by the Roosters, but Giants managing director Richard Thewlis confirmed the player had now been granted a release with no strings attached.

Thewlis said: "Deep down neither Luke nor the club wanted this outcome. However, the reality is that Luke is financially in a different place now to that envisaged when he joined.

"The changing regulations in respect of offshore pensions have caused him significant difficulties, as I am sure it must have for other overseas players in the UK, but fortunately for him an opportunity has arisen back home which will help him going forward.

"We do not wish to stand in the way of a longer-term opportunity for him as next year's Giants contract was an option we held, and we would have wanted to see a long consistent run of appearances before we would commit to the fourth year, which understandably was important for Luke.

"There have been no deals done in respect of Luke's playing registration and he is free to choose his next destination back home down under."