British international prefers
Queensland Cup

Richard Fletcher has rejected a cross-city switch to Hull KR and will head for Australia after his Hull FC contract was terminated.

The Hull-born 23-year-old is close to agreeing a deal to join Queensland Cup competition side East Tigers, who are coached by former Kangaroos Test star Darren Smith.

Fletcher was offered a good package to join Harvey Howard's Rovers, but opted for a stint in Australia instead.

Signed from West Hull, the back row forward earned international honours with Great Britain Academy and the under-21s and was regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the game.

But his career has been cruelly hit by injuries over the last couple of years and he suffered two broken legs, a knee injury and a cracked sternum.

Although he still had two years of his contract to run, Hull put Fletcher on six months' notice on November 1 because of his injury problems.

The club's decision came as a bitter blow as Fletcher has always stated he only ever wanted to play for the black and whites.

After talks with the club over the last few weeks, Fletcher has agreed a pay-off and is now looking to head for Australia and a new life.

Former Hull prop star, Aussie Craig Greenhill recommended Fletcher to East Tigers.

A former Aussie Test player, Greenhill contacted Smith, brother of former Hull star Jason Smith, about Fletcher.

On his brother's recommendation Darren Smith made contact with Fletcher and offered him a deal.

He has yet to sign but said: "I'm not expecting any problems and I am planning to head for Australia to start their pre-season early next month," said Fletcher.

"It is a golden opportunity for me, it is a new start, although I have to admit I am very sad to leave Hull.

"The club is the only one I have ever wanted to play for and the fans are, without question, the best in the world.

"But I have to look to the future and this is a big chance.

"Easts are a top side in the Queensland competition and they have a lot of talented players already signed up.

"Darren is talking of playing and they also have another former Test player, Steve Renouf in the side.

"Brandon Costin, who was so influential at Huddersfield, has signed up along with Dallas Hood, who played for Wakefield and London's Nigel Roy.

"It is a challenge but if I get in do well then, who knows, an NRL club might just come in.

"I'd like a shot in the NRL and this is a big opportunity for me."

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