Back for another shot at “heartland expansion” are James Ford’s York City Knights. Having recruited heavily, the Knights mean business as they could finally introduce top flight rugby league to such a historic city.
Full-back: Matty Marsh
After four years at Hull Kingston Rovers, in both the Super League and Championship, Matty Marsh is set for his third year at the club. He has experience at both full-back and half-back, giving the Knights another option in attack and will be a valuable asset heading in to 2021.
Wingers: Ben Jones-Bishop & Kieran Dixon
Two very similar players, having both signed in the off-season as they both possess plenty of top-level experience in the sport. Ben Jones-Bishop has scored over 150 tries between Leeds Rhinos, Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity, so he is an easy choice. Meanwhile, Kieran Dixon has scored over 125 tries and 200 goals and has plenty of speed and adds another goal kicking option.
Centres: Liam Salter & Ryan Atkins
Liam Salter enters his tenth season of professional rugby league, having a strong career between both York and former club Hull KR. Salter has proved to be an efficient support player, who certainly knows his way to the try line. Ryan Atkins perhaps needs no justification of why he will start. The 35-year-old has thrived at the likes of Bradford Bulls, Wakefield Trinity and Warrington Wolves and maybe has enough life left to take York up another level.
Stand-off: Brandon O’Hagan
Arriving from down under, and impressing with his show reel, Brandon O’Hagan could very well make his mark in the British game for the Knights.
Scrum-half: Morgan Smith
Another straightforward option. Morgan Smith emerged in 2016 with Warrington before experiencing another two years with London and then moving back up north. He has demonstrated his skill already and could well be capable of more, with Ford the man to possibly unlock his true potential.
Props: Ronan Dixon & Jack Teanby
Two of their most consistent performers in recent years. Ronan Dixon began his professional career at York and continues to impress to this day. Jack Teanby, on the other hand, traded Dewsbury Rams for a shot at the Knights and laid down the platform, alongside Dixon, prior to the first national lockdown last March.
Hooker: Will Jubb
Another one of their squad who began at Hull KR, Will Jubb is a hard working hooker, who will continue to be a solid performer for the Knights when play resumes.
Second-row: Chris Clarkson & Danny Kirmond
Chris Clarkson has experience in winning silverware with the Leeds Rhinos as well attaining promotion to Super League with Hull KR. Now as club captain, surely you cannot start with him, right?! Danny Kirmond, former Wakefield captain, has all the experience and leadership skills that can provide the Knights with further confidence, especially in ‘big games’.
Loose-forward: Adam Cuthbertson
The 36-year-old Adam Cuthbertson is not quite ready to call it a day just yet. Having won silverware in both hemispheres, Cuthbertson possesses an exciting ball-handling game, giving York a possible advantage of another skilful option, up front.
In his second spell at the club, Kriss Brining has performed well enough in the past to earn a Super League call up, and as another hooker, his services will be required to relieve Jubb from time to time.
The 30-year-old James Green not only has experience but can adapt as a prop and second-row and such an option provides York with a more unpredictable player off the bench.
In such a big season, vice-captain Tim Spears will not be omitted. Spears enjoyed a strong eight years with rival club Featherstone, but since joining York, he has been a valuable asset with his skill and leadership qualities driving the standards of the side high.
Danny Washbrook’s two spells at Hull FC have seen him help the club to more than one Challenge Cup. Strong in defence as well as useful in attack, Washbrook still has a few tricks in him that could well help York when the business end of the season arrives.