Huddersfield Giants made the highest offer in their history to a 21-year-old in an effort to keep the £100,000-plus rated Jake Connor at the club.
Giants officials are bitterly disappointed the talented utility back has chosen to sign a two-year contract for Hull FC next season instead of staying at the John Smith’s Stadium.
They are to negotiate with Hull FC over a transfer fee and, if agreement can’t be reached, they will ask the RFL to convene a tribunal.
Managing director Richard Thewlis explained: “We offered Jake the largest ever contract we have given to a 21-year-old, which included an upgrade for this current year, and we believe this demonstrates the high esteem in which we hold him as a home-grown player.
“To have that offer rejected is very disappointing.
“We were informed on Saturday by the Hull FC media department that they had signed Jake Connor for the 2017 season.
“I then spoke to (Hull director of rugby) Motu Tony, who confirmed the fact, as then a little later did Jake Connor himself, who confirmed he had physically signed with Hull FC.
“I have agreed to meet with Motu to see if agreement can be reached regarding the transfer fee, and while we are entitled under RFL regulations to a set amount, there is also scope to go beyond that if it can be proven that the player is of exceptional quality.
“We are all naturally disappointed he rejected our offer, but respect that he has that right and chose Hull FC.
“This move is likely to cost Hull FC in excess of six figures in totality in year one and we think that this, too, demonstrates the special quality they (Hull FC) see in Jake, which has to be reflected in the fee payable to ourselves.”
Some reports suggest Connor has reached ‘agreement in principle’ with Hull FC, rather than physically signing. Should that come into effect on November 1, after Connor’s 22nd birthday, no fee would legally be payable.
That is disputed by the Giants.
“If, however, Hull are now saying they have not actually signed him, which some media reports now seem to say, which is contrary to what I was told and have in writing, then we will again reiterate our desire to Jake to remain a Giant and remind all parties that should he later sign for Hull after October, when he is 22, then we would ask the RFL to investigate the entire matter,” added Thewlis.