York Knights are delighted to announce the signing of former Betfred Championship promotion winner James Cunningham on a two-year deal.
Cunningham, who is proudly sponsored by Vinta Sport, joins the Knights after spending 2022 in Betfred Super League with Toulouse Olympique, where he featured as a loose forward, hooker and half-back.
The 28-year-old reunites with York Head Coach Andrew Henderson, having spent three years working together at London Broncos.
Cunningham established himself as a regular in the Broncos side which won promotion to Betfred Super League in 2018, scoring 13 tries in 27 appearances that year.
Having started his career at Hull FC, Cunningham enjoyed spells at Betfred Super League sides Toronto Wolfpack and Huddersfield Giants before joining Toulouse.
Head Coach Henderson said on the signing: “We’re really happy to have James on board. I've had the pleasure of working with James previously and knowing him as a person, I thought he’d be a good fit for the group.
“From a playing point of view, he’s a Super League standard player, having mainly plied his trade in Super League at some very good clubs, working under some very good coaches.
“At 28-years-old, he’s still in the prime of his career, so I think he’ll add real value.
“James can showcase himself over the next two years with us and if and when we make the jump to full-time in the future, he could be part of that part as well.
“It was important to find someone with versatility. James can play a number of positions and he’s equally at home at hooker, loose forward, half-back, centre or back-row.
“With our current squad, that could prove valuable for us this season.”
On his move to the Knights, after a successful two-week trial period, Cunningham said: “I’ve got a pretty good relationship with Hendo from our time at London.
“When I saw that Hendo made the move to York, I asked him what the player availability was and if he’d want to sign me again, because I really enjoyed playing under him.
“Hendo is really transparent as a Head Coach, he tells you what he wants and he’ll tell you if you’re doing something wrong and that’s all you can ask as a player.
“I came down on a two-week trial and enjoyed it and Hendo asked me to stay and be part of his vision of earning promotion to Super League.
“Plus, I’ve had my eye on York for the past couple of years given that it’s a Club that’s been moving forward since winning promotion (from Betfred League One in 2018).
“I’m just really excited to be part of this journey.”
Cunningham is confident of being able to offer versatility across the field for the Knights.
He added: “At the moment, I definitely see myself a utility player and I want to fit in wherever Hendo needs me to.
“It’s a long season and we’ll probably pick up some injuries here and there, so I’m eager to do whatever I can to help.
“Some players don’t like the utility tag but you can make it work to your advantage.
“I enjoy the utility tag, it’s something I’ve had for a long time and one I’d like to have for the rest of my career.”
Cunningham could make debut for the Knights in Sunday’s Betfred Championship season opener against Widnes Vikings at the LNER Community Stadium (3pm).
General admission tickets are priced at £20 for adults, £15 for concessions and FREE for under-16s.
To purchase your ticket online, click HERE. Alternatively, you can call 01904 942232 or head to the Ticket Office (next door to the Club Shop).