Hull FC swoop for Warrington Wolves hooker

Hull FC have signed emerging talent Denive Balmforth from Warrington Wolves, with the hooker agreeing an initial two-year contract with the club.

The 18-year-old joins the Black & Whites from the Wolves after a fee was agreed between the two clubs for the exciting prospect to move to East Yorkshire.

Leeds-born Balmforth has been one of Warrington’s stand-out players in their youth system in recent seasons, having originally played both league and rugby union at junior level.

The skilful hooker earned the Man of the Match award with try-scoring performance for Yorkshire in last summer’s County Origin victory over Lancashire, alongside new Hull FC team mates Jacob Hookem and Nick Staveley.

Praised for his work ethic and attitude by coaches at the Wolves, Balmforth previously representative Stanningley ARLFC, winning the Yorkshire Cup at U14’s level in 2018 – alongside Staveley.

A dynamic and powerful ball player, the 18-year-old plays hooker and loose forward and will get the opportunity to train with the first-team as part of the club’s Rising Stars youth programme – learning from the likes of Danny Houghton, Jordan Johnstone and Joe Lovodua.

Speaking to hullfc.com, Balmforth said: “Hull have been watching me for a while since my junior rugby and having spoken to the club more recently, I really liked the sound of the opportunity to come over and be part of the Rising Stars group.

“The chance to work with three out and out hookers here at Hull is something that was a real draw for me, including a former Man of Steel in Danny Houghton – who is probably one of the best hookers that Super League has seen. You’ve also got Jordan and Joey who bring different qualities too, so I’m hoping to learn from all three of them and take little bits of each of their own games to add to mine.”

Discussing his ambitions for the next few years, Balmforth added: “Being part of the Rising Stars group allows me that direct opportunity to progress into the first-team proper; my ambition for the next couple of years is to make my first-team debut, but I aren’t getting ahead of myself and I know there’s plenty of aspects of my game that I need to work on before then which I’ve already discussed with Brett.

“There’s plenty of hard work ahead, but I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing in black and white. I’m on my own month-long mini pre-season at the moment, but I’m hoping to be able to get a run out for the reserves or academy in the next few weeks.”

Hull FC head coach, Brett Hodgson, said: “Denive is a genuine hooker who can also play at loose-forward. He’s quick and strong, with a good frame, and has a bit of a Kieron Cunningham stature about him.

“He’s a name for the future that can definitely add something to our system. Competition in the team is always good – I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes in the academy and reserves this season, and how he progresses training with the first team.

“The club have been monitoring him for a while and I watched him closely in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Origin match – along with our own Jacob Hookem – Denive was the best player on the field.

“He needed a bit of a change of environment and something a bit closer to home. We’ve given him the opportunity and we’re looking forward to helping him progress and reach his exciting potential.”

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