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Riddell heading back to NRL

01/07/2010 01:42:22 PM Comments (0)

A family illness has prompted former NRL cult hero Mark Riddell to cut short his English Premier League stint and head back to Australia.

Riddell - halfway through a three-year English contract - has told league leading Wigan that he will head back to the NRL next year in order to be with his ill mother in Sydney.

"I'm very disappointed that I'll be leaving. We're going very well this year and I love it here," the 29-year-old hooker told the Wigan Evening Post newspaper.

"I stewed over it for a long time but I had to put family first, I had to go that way.

"It was a tough decision to make, but this is the right one."

Snapped up from Parramatta in 2009, Riddell made a slow start to his UK career but has hit his straps this season, helping spark the Warriors' table topping form.

Riddell - who has played 44 games for Wigan - said he would move to Sydney but insisted that he had not already teed up an NRL club.

"To be honest, I've not even gone down that road yet," he said.

"I'm just focusing on doing a job this year.

"Hopefully something will come up, but we're definitely going back to Sydney to live, that's where my family is and it would have to fit in with that."

The former Dragons and Eels No.9 said he wanted to leave England with a bang.

"It's the last chance for me," he said.

"We went very close last year in both the Cup and the league, we dipped out of the Cup earlier than we would have liked this year, and now we're in a great position to have a crack at a Super League title.

"I'll be doing everything I can to make sure I leave with a winner's ring.

"The Wigan players are a great bunch of blokes and I've really enjoyed my time over here.

"This season, in particular, has been really good. That made the decision even harder, but it's the right decision."

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