Newcastle Knights: Joe Wardle going home early with no regrets

Departing English import Joe Wardle says he has no regrets about testing himself in the NRL despite leaving one year into a three-season deal.

FAMILY MAN: Joe Wardle has been named on the bench against the Raiders.

FAMILY MAN: Joe Wardle has been named on the bench against the Raiders.

The Knights confirmed last week the 25-year-old had been released from the final two years of his contract to join Super League club Castleford on a three-season deal, from which Newcastle gained a six-figure fee.

Wardle fronted the media on Thursday for the first time since the deal and said the decision came down to putting his family – partner, Siohban, and children, Alicia and Raiden – first.

“I just thought we’ve not settled well and there’s no point trying to force things to happen,” Wardle said. “It’s either going to happen or it isn’t, and unfortunately for us, it just hasn’t.”

Wardle, who came to Newcastle from Huddersfield, said he had “always wanted to give it a go” in the NRL.

“You’ve got to come out here, you’ve got to try it,” he said. “The part that’s unfortunate is it’s not the rugby side of it that’s affected it.”

“It is what it is and it’s happened and I move forward.”

The centre/back-rower was unsure if he would ever return to Australia but said he had gained confidence and valuable experience from this season, in which he has scored four tries in 15 appearances.

“Obviously it’s a different game,” Wardle said of the NRL.

“Obviously out here there’s a lot more competition for places.

“You’re not guaranteed a start every week, so I’ll take a lot of experience out of it and take it back home and help with a few of the young kids.

“It’s a shame the rugby side of it is not affecting it, so I’ll definitely take that back but I’ve got two more games out here to do my best for the team. We’ll see what happens there.”

Wardle, who hails from Halifax, was grateful to the Knights for making the Castleford move a reality and said it would bring his family close to home.

“The club’s been brilliant with it,” he said.

“They’ve really understood and tried working with us and stuff like that.

“I thank them because honestly they’ve done a great job for us, but we just move forward now.”