Hunters chief executive officer Brad Tassell confirmed yesterday that Lo and team-mate Jason Tali were not in Kokopo, East New Britain, with the Hunters squad for the Queensland Cup team’s off-season training programme.
“Gary and Jason are not in Kokopo. As far as we know, they are now in England at Gateshead,” Tassell said.
Tassell said he had met with Lo on November 17, with the 22-year-old having had a change of heart and wanting to return to the Hunters after previously agreeing to terms with Gateshead coach Stanley Gene last month.
“Gary came in to see me and Sandis (Tsaka, PNGRFL chairman) the week before the Hunters went into camp and said he wanted to stay,” Tassell said.
Lo, who was one of the Hunters’ best in the 2014 Q-Cup season, announced his intention to move to England, along with Tali, Mark Mexico and Charlie Wabo, in October but changed his mind earlier this month prompting discussions with Tassell.
Gene, when contacted by email, last week said he had no knowledge of Lo’s decision to bail out of his Gateshead deal and remained confident the four players would be in England by the beginning of this week (Nov 24).
Tassell said despite Lo inking a one-year deal with the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored Hunters, the feeling in the PNG Rugby League Football League was one of disappointment and annoyance.
“I don’t know why he changed his mind again after we spoke.
“We never forced or instigated his coming back. I can’t comment on his reason for deciding to go to Gateshead after signing with us because I haven’t had any contact him since the contract signing.”
Tassell said several of Lo’s family members had visited him this week to convey the news that the Kumul winger had indeed left for England. They could not give a reason for his action.
“He signed a contract and it’s legally binding. He still needs to get clearance from the PNGRFL,” Tassell said.
Tassell declined to comment on whether this meant Lo would no longer be considered for representative duties.
Meanwhile, all four Kumuls are named on the Gateshead website as the club’s latest acquisitions.