Michael Mcilorum and Anthony Gelling have left Wigan Warriors after being granted early releases from their contracts.
Mcilorum, 29, joined the Wigan Academy as a junior and made his debut for the Warriors in 2007. A Grand Final winner on two occasions in 2010 and 2013 he also won the Challenge Cup with Wigan in 2011 and 2013.
An Ireland international, he played 242 games for Wigan and celebrated his testimonial year with the Club in 2017.
Chairman, Ian Lenagan, said:
“Following his performance at the Rugby League World Cup several clubs expressed interest in Michael and we agreed that at this stage of his career it was right to allow him to explore his options. Several teams have put forward very favourable offers to Michael and we felt it right not to stand in his way.
“With Sam Powell and Thomas Leuluai both fine Hookers and the encouraging performances of Josh Ganson last season we believe the time has come for Michael to move on and for Wigan to look to the future.
“After ten years in the First Team and even longer with the Club having been in the Wigan Academy, Michael has been a fantastic servant and a big part of our success over the last eight years. He leaves us on good terms and we wish him well.”
Wigan Warriors Head Coach, Shaun Wane, said:
“Having thought about it for some time we are all in agreement that it is the right time for Micky and the Club to go their separate ways.
“Micky is a player who I hold close to my heart, I’ve known him for a long time and I’ve enjoyed watching him develop as both a player and a man over many years. I’ve every respect for him, he’s always given his very best for Wigan and I’m sure he will be remembered for that.”
In a note, Michael Mcilorum, wrote:
“I’d like to start by thanking the fans for all their support over the last 14 years from the academy up to the 10 years in the first team. Also for getting behind my testimonial year and helping me in every way possible this year including my return from injury.
“After speaking with Ian (Lenagan) it was made clear my future was elsewhere and with interest from a couple of clubs it was agreed now was the best time to part company. I would like to thank Ian and Kris (Radlinski) for making my time at Wigan successful and enjoyable.
“I’m going to miss a lot of things about this great club and have too many thank yous to mention everyone, but to every coach or member of staff at the club including past and present players I appreciate all the help along this great journey. I have friends for life!
“It’s now time for a new challenge for me and my family in another country which we are relishing with Catalans Dragons and are grateful to them for the opportunity.
“A special mention to Shaun (Wane) who has always gone above and beyond for me both on and off the field. I wish him all the best in the future I’m sure he’ll bring more success to Wigan!
“Thanks again to the fans for the great memories, I’ve loved every minute.
“Born in Leeds, made in Wigan!”
Anthony Gelling, 27, has spent six years with the Cherry and Whites scoring 52 tries in 115 games. He will return home to New Zealand having won the World Club Challenge and Super League Grand Final with Wigan.
Executive Director, Kris Radlinski, said:
“Anthony came to us a few weeks ago expressing his desire to return home to be closer to his family and girlfriend in New Zealand. We can’t have anyone here who isn’t emotionally in the right place whilst we also don’t want to see people upset. We believe Anthony to be genuine in his wishes to return home, he hasn’t got anything lined up, he simply wants to go home.
“A real character, Anthony will be sorely missed not just at Wigan but in Super League too. On the field he has worked tirelessly to become one of the best Centres in the league and deservedly returns home with a Grand Final winner’s ring on his finger. He leaves with our best wishes and will have many friends for life here at Wigan.”
Anthony Gelling said:
“It’s always tough to move on. I’ve given up my 20’s to represent the club and had an absolute blast in doing so. My family has always stood by me during my time away and the time has come to put them first.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to the players both past and present, the coaching staff for taking a punt on me and to the fans who took on a Rugby League nerd from Auckland and made him feel at home. Thank you and good luck.”
Shaun Wane said:
“I’m sad to see Anthony go, he has improved greatly during his time at Wigan and the coaching staff and I are proud of the progress he has made. He will be missed around the Club and he leaves with our best wishes.
“From a squad perspective, we have known about this for a little while now which is why we acted swiftly to secure Dan Sarginson’s return.”
Should Anthony Gelling wish to return to the UK in the future then Wigan will have the first option to re-sign him.
This was first published on the Wigan Warriors website