YORK City Knights are poised to start Sunday’s opening pre-season friendly against the York Select XIII with up to eight new faces on show in a strong side.
Front-row stars Paul King and Adam Sullivan are ruled out – the former is yet to train due to work commitments while the latter is still sidelined with a knee problem – but boss Gary Thornton is planning to field many of his other big guns not only to avoid embarrassment against the representative amateur side but to entice a big crowd to Huntington Stadium (3pm).
Former Super League star Jason Golden and Championship title winner Sam Scott are set to start in the second row and Simon Brown, who made the move from Sheffield with Scott in the off-season, will form a new half-back partnership with the returning Jonny Presley.
Not only is local pride at stake on the renewal of the charity challenge match after a three-year absence, but the Boxing Bowel Cancer fund, set up for Dringhouses teacher Christine Caldwell after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer aged 29, will also benefit from match proceeds.
Thornton said: “I hope it’s a good crowd. These matches have been well-supported previously and there should be a fair amount of interest going around the city.
“It’d be good if people turned out in force and support it. Let’s get a big crowd there and swell the coffers for what is a fantastic cause.”
Admission to Sunday’s game is specially priced, at £10 for adults and £3 for under-16s.
Former Knights boss Dave Woods is close to bringing Papua New Guinea Test prop Rodney Pora, and an unnamed PNG front-row partner, to Whitehaven.
Pora only need to pass an English exam to gain a visa, with the club apparently awaiting his results from Australia.
Ex-Super League forward Paul Jackson and former Knight Lee Paterson have already joined the club, while PNG threequarter Jessie Joe Parker has agreed new terms.