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Dagger: Everyone is battling for their shirt

York Knights begin their 2024 campaign next week with a trip to Newcastle Thunder in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup on Saturday (3pm).

Ahead of the season opener at Kingston Park, we spoke to new recruit Will Dagger about the team's pre-season preparations, arriving as the first-choice full-back and the strength of the 2024 squad.

Welcome to York, Will! How are you settling into life as a York Knights player?

“I’m really enjoying it. The boys have been really welcoming, which always makes it easier to come into a new club and feel comfortable.

“It’s been tough and Hendo has really been pushing us. But the boys are really buying into what he’s trying to do and everyone is putting in their extras.

“The opposed sessions with Castleford and Hunslet have gone really well. Like anything, there’s a few fix-up areas which we’ll be working hard at, but to say it’s the first time we’ve gone 13 against 13, I thought we put together some good shapes, some decent execution and we’ve been really putting into practise Hendo’s vision around the pressure cycle.”

You arrive having signed a three-year deal and being talked about as the first-choice full-back. How much does that mean to you?

“I’ve never had this opportunity before, where a Club have said, ‘You’re going to be our first-choice number one’. It’s something that I’ve just tried to take in my stride.

“Alex Donaghy and Myles Harrison are a little bit younger than me, so I’ve been trying to help them out. Having said that, I’m still learning myself, from the likes of Richie Myler and others.

“As long as we’re all willing to help each other on and off the field, then that can only benefit the team.”

How strong does the squad look this year? 

“Really strong, really strong. In the opposed sessions against Castleford and Hunslet, you can see the partnerships that we’ve been developing, the link play between the halves and the middles too.

“It’s been really exciting seeing it all come together and it’s just about putting that into the matches now.”

Speaking about the halves, you come into a squad with four quality half-backs...

“We’ve certainly got some depth there and they can all play and they’re all really smart players. They’re all players that can change games and can come up with different plays on the fly.

“There’s real depth all over the squad, which makes it really competitive in training and means that everyone is going to be battling for their shirt.”

How much are looking forward to making your York Knights return this year?

“I can’t wait. The atmosphere here at the LNER during the Women’s Grand Final was amazing and it was great to be part of that.

“Hopefully both the men and women can have that level of success this year. I’m just really eager to get going now!”

York Knights begin their 2024 season with a trip to Newcastle Thunder in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Kingston Park on Saturday 27th January (3pm).

Tickets are priced at £15 for Adults and Concessions and £5 for Under-16s and are only available to purchase on-the-gate! Click HERE for more information.


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