THE Paul King saga at York City Knights has taken another twist after the former Super League star rejected new terms.
The Knights say the next move rests with the 33-year-old, but otherwise talks seem to have broken down. The sticking point is almost certainly over reduced pay.
Said Knights general manager Ian Wilson: “We’ve made an offer which we think is a fair offer. As far as we’re concerned the ball is in his court but there have been no further talks.”
The Press revealed on the eve of the Kingstone Press Championship season that one-time Great Britain international King was set to make himself available again having missed all of pre-season due to work commitments.
However, the contract extension he had signed in August had been annulled due to his no-show and – while head coach Gary Thornton was confident the two parties were close to reaching a new agreement – the modified terms have not been accepted.
The club still hold King’s registration and could feasibly demand a fee if another Championship outfit came in for him, although whether this materialises – or even whether the player hangs up his boots – remains to be seen.
The Knights have also retained fellow forward Joe Hemmings’ registration in the hope he returns to the club, but Wilson says they will not stand in his way if the New Earswick All Blacks ARLC product wants to return to the amateur arena.
Hemmings, who played six times for the first team last year before injury curtailed his campaign, left the club in pre-season due to work and family commitments, although he would be welcomed back.
Wilson said: “The reason he’s still registered is because we haven’t closed the door on him coming back. We think he’s got something to offer.”
York Acorn ARLC head coach Scott Rhodes has said he “would love” to sign the 24-year-old for the Blue and Golds’ forthcoming return to amateur rugby league’s top tier.
Meanwhile, the Knights expect to have the same six dual-registration players made available by parent club Hull for this Sunday’s Championship clash at Batley (2pm) as for last week’s win over Swinton.
The biggest question mark is over centre Joe Arundel, who has been named in Hull’s provisional 19-man squad for their Super League clash at St Helens tomorrow night, but, like last week, could be released come Saturday morning if he does not feature in their 17.
The other four who played for York last week and look set to do so again at Batley are Tom Lineham, the current leader in the Championship try-scoring list with four, fellow winger Jack Briscoe, half-back Danny Nicklas and back-rower Dean Hadley. Full-back Jamie Shaul was the sixth player made available last week but was not involved.
The Hull dual-reg contingent were likely to train with the Knights tonight and again on Saturday morning.
To book seats on the supporters’ club bus to Batley, phone 07763 121732. For train times and fares (the nearest station to Mount Pleasant is Dewsbury), visit tpexpress.co.uk
• Last night’s under-20s reserves friendly at Post Office Road between Featherstone and the Knights was called off because of snow. The Knights are arranging a new friendly away to Oldham next Wednesday, with a likely 8pm kick-off.