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16 June 2011, 10:56
Luke Burgess and Ben Cross have both been released by Leeds Rhino's at their own request.
They're now available for transfer immediately.
Cross' departure isn't suprising, the 32-year-old Australian's made little impact since arriving from Newcastle in the winter, he's not figured for the first team since the April 29 win at Castleford.
Burgess, who is out of contract with the club at the end of the season, has been made available for loan until then, when he is expected seek a move to Australia to join up with brothers Sam and George, who are both on the books of South Sydney.
Chief Exec Gary Hetherington said:
'Both Luke and Ben have asked the club to be released from the remainder of their contract.
'Luke is out of contract at the end of the season and he has indicated that his intention is to move to Australia and play in the NRL.
'Both have become frustrated that they have not been unable to force their way into the side given the outstanding form of other players in their position and feel the need to move to pastures new to gain first team rugby.
'Luke will be available on loan for the remainder of the season subject to us being able to recall him should injuries to the squad occur and we have agreed with Ben's manager that he can talk to other clubs regarding his availability and if he is able to find a club we will agree to his release.
'If he is unable to conclude a deal with another club, Ben is happy to remain at the Rhinos and fight for his place.'
The return of England captain Jamie Peacock from a long-term knee injury has not helped either player`s chances of breaking into coach Brian McDermott`s squad, with the likes of Kylie Leuluai, Ryan Bailey and Weller Hauraki ahead of them in the pecking order.
Burgess won the Grand Final with the Rhinos in 2009 and McDermott has thanked him for the service he has given the club, having made a total of 93 appearances since making his debut in 2008:
'Luke has had a fine career at Leeds but he has now come to the decision that he wishes to leave,
'His demands to leave are based on his desire to play first-team rugby on a weekly basis which we are unable to offer him at this present time.
'Whilst this may not be ideal for the squad depth we will never hold a player to the club if they no longer wish to be here and we thank him for his services to the Rhinos down the years, which has included a winning Grand Final in 2009.'