BRADFORD Bulls received yet another blow last night when Jarrod Sammut became the latest player to leave the financially-troubled club.
After Garreth Carvell’s controversial departure to Hull FC earlier this week, coach Francis Cummins insisted on Wednesday he would be looking to get more players in rather than losing them.
Yet Sammut, the flamboyant Australian half-back, has now followed suit by requesting an early release from his contract in order to take up a two-year deal with West Yorkshire neighbours Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
It is a surprise move for the player, who turns 27 today, given his new club have also endured their own financial strife of late and could be rivals when it comes to the battle to avoid relegation.
At his best, Sydney-born Sammut is one of the most exciting players in Super League and made twice as many clean breaks, with 32, as any of his Bradford colleagues last season.
He will certainly enhance Richard Agar’s Trinity squad and bring some added creativity to their ranks though he is not an orthodox half-back and definitely not a like-for-like replacement for Salford Red Devils-bound compatriot Tim Smith.
Wakefield have said the Maltese international will not play at Salford tomorrow, but is expected to debut, ironically enough, in Thursday night’s televised home game against Bradford.
His erstwhile club are not short of half-back options given they have signed Lee Gaskell from St Helens this season and he – or the versatile Brett Kearney – can link with scrum-half Luke Gale against Castleford tomorrow.
Similarly, one of Scotland’s World Cup heroes Danny Addy has proved a more than capable half but, that said, they will undoubtedly miss his unpredictable quality.
Sammut, who can also operate at full-back, was their top tackle buster last term, too, breaking 88 attempts to bring him down and such innate flair is rare in the modern game.
Bradford released a statement last night saying: “Bradford Bulls today have agreed the release of Jarrod Sammut to the Wakefield Wildcats. Recent discussions between both clubs and the player have taken place and an agreement has been reached.”
A club spokesperson continued: “Jarrod requested a release from his contract from the Bulls and although the timing has been recognised as not being ideal, the club does have a policy of athletes needing to prove their loyalty.
“We entered into negotiations with the Wakefield Wildcats and have come away with all parties agreeing a happy resolution.
“We would like to thank Michael Carter and his team at Wakefield for the part they played during this time, they have proven themselves to be extremely professional.”
Sammut first came to the attention of British audiences when he scored a brilliant solo try for Crusaders on his Super League debut against Bradford at Murrayfield’s Magic Weekend in 2010.
He contributed 17 tries in 33 games for the Welsh club before moving to Odsal at the end of the following season.
Sammut was even more prolific in Bradford colours, scoring 28 tries in 38 Super League games and also adding 47 goals.
Wakefield chairman Carter confirmed: “We recently got into dialogue with the Bulls regarding Jarrod and we’re pleased to have reached a conclusion that is mutually beneficial for all parties.”