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Henderson discusses pre-season, recruitment and injuries

York Knights are deep into their pre-season preparations for 2024, having welcomed 10 new signings into their squad over the off-season!

We caught up with Head Coach Andrew Henderson to discuss pre-season training, the close-season recruitment and the latest on injuries within the squad.

How’s pre-season going and how are things behind the scenes?

“I’ve been really pleased with how we’ve started our pre-season campaign. It’s been nice to have pretty much full capacity at training. We’ve been able to get the quality of work into them that we wanted to so far, which has been really pleasing. The addition of new staff has freshened things up, alongside a few new faces, so there’s great energy around the place and the lads are getting on with the job at hand.”

How does this pre-season compare to your first at the Club?

“It’s certainly been a lot smoother. The players have had 12 months working under myself now and they know what I’m about, my staff are about and what our programme is about. The new players that have come in have understood what we do fairly quickly and I think they’ve certainly added to the squad. Having more numbers on the training field allows us to develop the team in the direction we want a bit sooner than we could last year.”

Having brought in the likes of Richie Myler, Will Dagger and Jimmy Keinhorst amongst others, how pleased are you with the recruitment you’ve done ahead of 2024?

“It was important that we replaced some of the old guard with a new old guard if you like! We lost a couple of key players in Kirmo and Clarky and Jimmy and Richie almost replace those two in terms of their age, experience and quality. Will Dagger is a really exciting talent, with his best years ahead of him. There’s a number of quality players that we’ve signed from this level too that are all at a good age and are very good in their own right. I’m just really excited to see how they all come together alongside our retained players once we start the live playing scenario.”

And you’ve gone with a bigger squad for 2024…

“It’s a long season and there’s a lot of games played. Last year we played around 34 or 35 games, when you include friendlies, the league, cup matches and the Play-Offs. That’s a lot of rugby league, especially with a part-time squad. It’s a challenge to manage that. I did feel that it was important, if we had the capacity, to bring in a few more numbers this year and I have to thank the owner for that backing.”

There won’t be any pre-season friendlies this year. Are you able to talk us through the thought process behind that?

“Put simply, I think we play enough games as it is in the regular season and cup competitions. I don’t think we need to play any more matches through friendlies. We’re going to have some opposed sessions against other clubs, but I don’t think we need any friendly matches ahead of the season.”

Finally, could you update on the latest on the injury front?

“Levi Edwards and Bailey Antrobus are on the long-term casualty list and both are progressing really well with their ACL injuries after operations. They’re both looking to be back around that mid-season mark. Ronan Michael went under the knife in the close-season with a shoulder injury, so he’ll likely be back for the start of the Betfred Championship season. Ata Hingano has had ankle surgery and both Myles Harrison and Josh Daley have had PCL injuries. Myles is back training now and Josh and Ata should be back in training in January. The AB Sundecks 1895 Cup might be a bit too soon for them but they should be back for the start of the league season. We should only be missing Levi and Bailey for round one of the league… all being well!”

Watch every York Knights and York Valkyrie home league match with a 2024 York RLFC Season Ticket! For all information on 2024 Season Tickets, please click HERE!


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