Dave Craven: Hock has only himself to blame as career continues to nosedive

Gareth Hock in his Wigan days.

Gareth Hock in his Wigan days.

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IT is hard to claim that any player who took part in the last Great Britain side to defeat the Aussies can be deemed a failure.

However, when it comes to Gareth Hock, the overriding emotion most people will feel once his playing days are over is that his career and talent have undoubtedly been wasted.

The controversial second-row should now be preparing for his second season in Sydney – where he famously helped the Lions defeat the Green and Golds in 2006 – with NRL club Parramatta Eels and showing the National Rugby League what a punishing force he truly is.

Instead, Hock is sat on his backside again serving yet another ban while also this week announcing he will, when available again on Easter Monday, be playing for Championship club Leigh until at least the end of 2016.

It is another season and yet another club now for the misguided Hock who, despite being coveted by the NRL barely 18 months ago, was essentially allowed to leave struggling Salford Red Devils just two games into this season after picking up a six-match ban for twice using his knees in the tackle against St Helens.

Even the good Doctor, Marwan Koukash, an eternal optimist given his belief he can make Salford a force and form a Super League side in the NRL, has given up on the apparently unmanageable 31-year-old.

Given the manner of those fouls, some may claim Hock actually wanted to gain another suspension.

Remarkably, he has now served a total of more than three years in bans during his chequered career, the most infamous being a two-year suspension for cocaine use while at Wigan in 2009. The charge sheet also includes three separate incidents of pushing referees.

A brilliantly explosive ball-carrier on his day and equally fierce defender, he has the quality to hurt any defence, as the Kangaroos have found out to their cost in the past.

But Hock has more ability to hurt himself than anyone else given a series of bad decisions that have seen his potentially golden career descend into farce.

If he had taken up that Parramatta deal – he made a U-turn in August, 2013 after his partner became pregnant and just a few months before being due to depart to Australia – it could have offered him some redemption.

However, instead, after a major fall-out with Wigan, who stood by him through that drugs shame, had seen him end up at Widnes on a season-long loan, he arrived at Salford amid another blaze of publicity.

Yet Hock played just 14 Super League games last season as Koukash’s expensive recruits bombed and he was released on Monday with nearly three years still remaining on his contract.

Koukash feels the player may have to look for a future outside of the game but Leigh are the latest to feel they can get him back on course.

Good luck to them. But he is likely to be wound up further still in the rougher climes of the Championship where his hot temper could see even more bans being accumulated.

I predict his next move, probably sooner rather than later, will be to Wigan St Judes ARLFC where it all began for him. And, unfortunately, he will probably still be causing some sort of controversy there.

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