With almost a year since the last rugby league fixture in England’s second tier, this season is building up to be one of the most eagerly awaited and competitive seasons in Betfred Championship history.
The majority of the second tier sides have recruited well which has seen the race for promotion heat up ever more so.
As we look ahead to the 2021 Championship season, here are six players who will be keen to rediscover their previous form and guide their clubs to the top-flight.
Cory Aston – London Broncos – The Sheffield-born halfback made a name for himself at his hometown club during an impressive 308-point haul for the Eagles across four seasons. Following in the footsteps of his father and Sheffield legend Mark Aston, Corey attracted interested from numerous Super League clubs and signed for Leeds Rhinos in 2017. After loan spells with Featherstone and Bradford respectively, he signed for Castleford, but once again fell down the pecking order as Jake Trueman emerged as the Tigers’ first choice half back. Now in the capital with London Broncos, Aston will be keen to show the onlookers in the British game his undeniable talent and lead the Broncos to a promotion push in 2021.
Adam Lawton – Widnes Vikings – Recently described by Vikings’ CEO Phil Finney as “a player who should be playing in the NRL”, Adam Lawton re-joins his hometown club Widnes for the upcoming season. Having burst onto the scene in 2013 with nine tries in 15 games from second row, the 6 foot 7 back-rower will be looking to find similar form again this time out. He’ll be looking to link up on Widnes’ left edge with Danny Craven, as they formed a potent partnership during their time together in Super League with the Cheshire outfit.
Kieran Dixon – York City Knights – Amongst a plethora of impressive signings for York in 2021 is the electrifying Kieran Dixon. James Ford’s men have recruited incredibly well ahead of what seems to be a pivotal season for the “heartlands expansion” team. Boosting a brilliant record of 97 tries in 135 games for London Broncos, the flying winger will be keen to show his old and boyhood club exactly what they’re missing out on when his current and former sides face off in the Championship this season.
Kris Welham – Featherstone Rovers – The experienced England Knights international will want to find the form he showed in Salford’s Super League Grand Final season of 2019 when he takes to the field for the Rovers in 2021. A player with slick ball handling ability will pose a massive threat for the West Yorkshire outfit, and in Ben Blackmore outside him he has a prolific winger who he can provide plenty of try assists for.
Matty Dawson-Jones – Bradford Bulls – The former Castleford Tigers youth player will be hoping to pick up from where he left off during the 2020 season as he scored four tries in six games for the Bulls before the pandemic hit. Having previously signed for Hull FC in 2019, making just one appearance, Dawson-Jones will be hoping for some more game time this season. Being first choice winger in Bradford’s’ squad for 2021 will give him some much-needed game time under his belt and he’ll no doubt repay the Bulls with heaps of quality moments.
Ben Reynolds – Toulouse Olympique – After playing for both Leigh Centurions and Featherstone Rovers in 2019, Ben Reynolds will be hoping for some consistency as he heads for pastures new in the south of France. Having played more than 120 games throughout his career so far, the halfback will be keen to rediscover the form that guided Leigh to two consecutive top of the table finishes in 2015 and 2016, as well as subsequent promotion to Super League for the 2017 season.