Whitehaven are having to look elsewhere for a new half-back after their overseas target pulled-out of a deal to join the Recreation Ground club.
The Papua New Guinea player had actually signed registration forms with the west Cumbrians but did not follow up by completing the rest of the paperwork required by the RFL.
Then the player’s agent contacted Whitehaven to say that his client had decided to stay in PNG and continue his career at home. He had spent last season with a Championship club in Britain.
It appears that he may have been training with a club back home and they have come up with an improved contract offer to stay.
Head coach Gary Charlton said: “It’s very disappointing because he was the half-back we were looking for. Everything about him convinced us that he would be a perfect fit for our team and squad.
But we are getting over it. This is not the end of the world and we are actively looking for a half-back although at this time of the year it’s not going to be easy.
“The lads are flying in training and we couldn’t have asked for a better approach from them, or a more professional attitude. We are all looking forward to the new challenge that the Championship offers.”
Whitehaven start their preparations for the new Championship season with a warm-up game at Newcastle on Saturday.
It will be the usual match-day format of 40 minutes each way but both teams will be able to use as many substitutes as they want.
Whitehaven won’t have a full squad as three members will be unavailable – through work, an injury and a pre-booked holiday.
“It still gives us a healthy look in numbers and I think it will be a good opening test. Newcastle have improved massively and will be one of the favourites to get out of League One,” said Charlton.
Haven follow up at home to Workington (Jan 19) in the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy and at home to North Wales Crusaders on January 26.