In one of the biggest pieces of transfer news this off-season it was announced that young English pair Kai Pearce-Paul and Will Pryce would be heading to the NRL and signing with Newcastle Knights for the 2024 season onwards.
Whilst the pair are immensely talented it still came as a surprise to see them both set to leave Super League at such a young age, Pearce-Paul set to turn 22 as the season starts and Pryce even younger having turned 20 in December.
At Newcastle Knights they’ll join fellow English youngster, Dom Young, providing that the six foot seven inch tall winger renews his contract beyond this season.
What is a huge loss to Super League is obviously a major gain for the NRL but Pryce has revealed that he had very little interest from Super League sides as a junior when speaking on the Trot The Egg In podcast.
“I managed to get a trial at Saints and I think my Dad had spoke to a couple of people there saying, ‘look give him a chance’.
“I’d only got on scholarship offer at 14, I only got the offer from Wakefield and it was tough. Obviously having my Dad behind me, people knew me for that reason.”
Pryce’s father, Leon, was one of the all-time Super League greats with his career spanning multiple teams but mainly being renowned for his period at Bradford Bulls and St Helens.
Having won four Grand Finals, five Challenge Cups and a further three World Club Challenge titles there wasn’t much that the senior Pryce hasn’t done in domestic rugby league, but that wasn’t something that aided Will’s journey.
“I had minor interest from clubs like Castleford and Bradford when I was around 14 but no one really gave me a chance. A lot of questions came about my attitude as a kid and that kind of came from my Dad.
“He was known in the rugby community for being quite a natural player, he didn’t train that hard but when it got to game day he turned it on.
“A lot of people thought I’d be the same, and at that age I was nowhere near the kevel that my Dad was at that age and there were scouts that had been around him as a kid and then me, and I think they kind of overlooked my in that sense.”
Saints eventually passed up on Pryce after six months on account of the presence of Lewis Dodd, who has gone on to be excellent in his young career and is tipped for an incredible season as he returns from injury, but ultimately it means Pryce sought a scholarship elsewhere with Huddersfield being the team to take a chance on him.
Pryce added: “I think it motivated me a bit more, I had scouts that weren’t really interested, people said I had a bad attitude and I think that kind of fuelled me into wanting to work harder as a person and prove people wrong. It worked out and I’ve managed to get into this opportunity I’m in now.”
The Giants will be delighted that they took a chance on the youngster and whilst they’ll be gutted to lose him from 2024 onwards he’s set to be a pivotal player in 2023 as Huddersfield aim to improve on their best season in over a decade.