“It’s quite exciting for everyone involved!”
After being announced as the thirteenth Knight for 2021, centre Tyme Nikau is looking forward to representing the city in which his dad became a cult hero. “I’m really excited to be joining the team and becoming a part of the organization,” he said after signing.
26-year-old Nikau initially came to the UK to take up a contract with Betfred League One’s North Wales Crusaders in March but the Huntly-born threequarter arrived in the country days before the season was put on hold, later to be curtailed.
After signing a deal for 2020, it quickly became clear that Nikau wouldn’t be playing for his new team but, during lockdown, he learned of interest from the Knights. “There was still a bit of uncertainty whether the League One and Championship seasons were up in the air,” he explained. “The Crusaders suggested and helped me touch base with the Knights to see if there would be an option of me getting a run over here if the Championship season were to go ahead.”
Nikau, who was staying with family friends when he arrived in the country with his wife, then opted to stay in the city and said “one thing led to another and the club offered me a gig for 2021!”
After such a tumultuous year, Nikau paid tribute to those family friends who made their arrival so hospitable. “It made all the difference,” Nikau admitted. “We’d have been struggling without them. Sue and Stefan Pysanczyn, their daughter Gemma and her husband Rich, they’ve all been lifesavers for us throughout this whole period, taking us into their home and helping us out.
“We just couldn’t thank them enough really and I think they are a true testament to the Yorkshire people,” he added. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have people like that around and extremely grateful, too.”
Tyme’s father, Tawera, will be a familiar fan to York rugby league fans. A man who starred in both the Super League and NRL, Tawera Nikau became a cult hero with Ryedale York in the early nineties and Tyme revealed that his dad still has strong memories of the city. “He definitely holds this city in high regard and said its a great place with even better people,” he said.
“I hope to have half as good of an experience here!”
Head coach James Ford has commented that Nikau will face stiff competition for a place in the Knights’ matchday squad in 2021 and, on what York fans can expect to see from him in the black and amber, the centre said: “I like to think I’m quite reliable out on the pitch, so the team and fans will know what they’ll get from me week in, week out.
“I’ve just got a real passion for the game and really love playing it, I suppose. I’m just really keen to rip in!”
Through lockdown, many would forgive Nikau for feeling a bit lost after the main reason for him heading to the UK was taken from him. He, however, was sure to keep himself busy. “I’ve done a few puzzles during lockdown,” he said, “and some online courses which was alright.
“Since restrictions have eased a bit I’ve been plying my trade as a carpenter and joiner around York. That’s been good, just to get out and about York a bit more!”
One place within the city that Nikau is looking forward to finding out more about is the LNER Community Stadium and, after seeing the recent batch of images released, he admits to being impressed.
“The LNER Community Stadium and facilities look amazing,” he stated. “Not only for the players but the supporters as well and I can’t wait to get a run on the pitch and hopefully win a few games out there!”
Nikau has, of course, seen and heard of the amazing generosity and support of the Knights community in recent months, including the 2020 Knights Patrons and Squadbuilder, and is keen to impress them in the amber and black.
“I’m really looking forward to pulling on the York jersey and playing some good footy in front of the fans!”