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Pat Smith to join York City Knights
SHEFFIELD Eagles pivot Pat Smith is on his way to home-town club York City Knights, it has been confirmed.
However, it is now certain that double Player of the Year Sam Scott is heading out of the revolving Huntington Stadium door – joining Batley Bulldogs.
Talks opened with 23-year-old Smith – brother of Knights second-row Ed – earlier this summer. As predicted by The Press last month, he has now penned terms for 2014, in spite of the club’s demotion to Championship One.
The hooker/half-back actually ended this season in that tier on a rolling loan at Gloucestershire All Golds, and Knights boss Gary Thornton was confident he could help the club top that table next year to bounce straight back up.
“He’s really keen to get cracking and I’m looking forward to working with him,” said Thornton.
“We tried to bring him in early on this year but at the time we were in partnership with Hull and had Danny Nicklas so couldn’t justify bringing in another pivot and then Pat went to Gloucestershire. “I’m pleased we’ve got him now. He’s a York lad and he wanted to play here, which is the kind of player we want – the more local lads the better.”
This season Smith played only three times for 2012 Kingstone Press Championship champions Sheffield, his last appearance coming against Whitehaven on April 1, hence the loan switch.
In total, the student international played 24 games for the Eagles, scoring two tries, having first joined in 2011 after moving to university in the Steel City.
Thornton – who is optimistic Ed will also be staying next season – added: “Pat will offer competition at hooker and at pivot and gives us strength in depth.
“He’s got good pedigree, having come up through Hull’s academy and being at Sheffield. He’s played the majority of his football this year in Championship One and handled it very well. He’s more than capable at this level. I’ve seen enough of him to know he will do a good job for us.”
Scott, meanwhile, has been released by the club and agreed a deal at Batley. The 23-year-old back-rower, who was named the Players’ Player and The Press Player of the Year last Friday, had initially agreed to stay at Huntington Stadium but he had a get-out clause should the club be relegated and was always expected to trigger it.
Thornton said: “He’s had a tremendous season. I’m sorry we couldn’t keep him – he was happy to stay (before relegation) but he wanted to play in the Championship, and fair play to him.
“He goes with our best wishes and I hope he does well there. He put his body on the line more than once for us and I’ll always admire him for what he did for York.”
Aaron Lyons has also left the Knights – and is poised to join arch-rivals Hunslet, who joined York in falling down the trapdoor.
The 23-year-old second-row-cum-centre arrived from Featherstone Rovers a year ago but struggled to nail down a regular berth, starting six matches and making six further appearances off the bench, scoring one try.
The Press understands the player rejected reduced terms to stay at Huntington Stadium. Said Thornton: “We’ve had notification he’s not staying. It was his first season in the Championship and he did okay. We offered him what we thought was a fair deal but he’s decided he wanted to look elsewhere. We wish him all the best.”
• Hull FC are reportedly expected to enter into a new dual-registration partnership agreement with Championship club Doncaster for 2014. Hull had been York’s partner club this year but, as revealed by The Press this week, that agreement was dissolved by the Knights. Doncaster likewise had a partnership agreement with Wakefield this year but that has also now been severed.
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