York City Knights are set to feature in their first pre-season game this weekend as they travel to Doncaster and in time for the game they’ve made sure to release their 2023 squad numbers.
The Knights will be under new management and coaching for 2023 with former boss James Ford having linked up with Mark Applegarth at Wakefield trinity.
As a result Andrew Henderson has taken charge and it was announced yesterday that Ireland boss Ged Corcoran would be joining on as an assistant as the Knights push for the playoffs again.
With Henderson taking charge of the team’s promotion ambitions for 2023 he’s also taken charge of the squad numbers being handed out and he’s commented on the Knights website about what has influenced the decisions.
“I was very honest, open and transparent with the players when I announced the squad numbers to them, as I’ll always aim to be with them,” Henderson explained.
“They won’t always agree with me, which is fine, but I’ve got to make decisions that I believe are for the greater good of the team.
“I’ve had six weeks to assess the players and I’ve judged it on three things: Attitude, application and availability.”
The World Cup delaying the start of pre-season had caused some disruptions to the Championship side, not least with their newly appointed assistant coach having led Ireland out at the World Cup.
Corcoran joins and will once again coach Irish internationals Ronan Michael, who the club have signed from Huddersfield Giants, and Australian-born Brendan O’Hagan.
That disruption may have played into certain number choices revealed Henderson.
“It’s been a slightly disrupted pre-season as we’ve had players start pre-season then go back to Australia, players not arrive from Australia until January and players out injured.
“But on the whole, the attitude and the application has been good from those that have been in training and those that have been in the rehab group.
“A lot was based on availability and what I’ve been able to see on the training ground.
“The squad numbers reflect who’s been in training and trained to the standards we expect.”
Without commenting on individual players Henderson continued his theme of honesty, particularly in regard to ‘non-starting numbers’, something that as fans we know doesn’t exist because each player has to earn the starting shirt but something that players are certainly conscious of should they receive a number between one and thirteen.
“Some of the lower-number players are down to them being injured, so haven’t been as available as we’d have hoped. That’s out of their control and not their fault.
“I can only be as honest as I can. Speaking to the players, I said ‘I’m not taking into account your CV, what you’ve achieved previously in the game or here at York, I’m judging it on the here and now and what you’re willing to do for York Knights.’
“That’s all I could judge it on, from what I’ve assessed in this short period of time. That’s the fairest way.
“In 12 months, the landscape may change because I’ve seen how those guys perform and train consistently over 12 months.
“The squad numbers next year may reflect what I know about them in more detail.”
Knights kick off their pre-season with a trip to Doncaster with their Championship campaign starting at home to Widnes on the 5th February.
1: Matty Marsh
2: Joe Brown
3: James Glover
4: Jesse Dee
5: AJ Towse
6: Ata Hingano
7: Liam Harris
8: Jon Luke Kirby
9: Will Jubb
10: Conor Fitzsimmons
11: Chris Clarkson
12: Danny Kirmond
13: Jordan Thompson
14: Brendan O’Hagan
15: Myles Harrison
16: Bailey Antrobus
17: Ronan Michael
18: In loving memory of York fans
19: Josh Daley
20: Jack Teanby
21: Ukuma Ta’ai
22: Pauli Pauli
23: Olly Butterworth
24: Ben Barnard
25: Brad Ward
26: Jamie Ellis
27: Harry Price