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Hardcastle duo join the Knights as Jason Golden agrees new terms
HULL-based Benn and Luke Hardcastle are to bolster the amount of brotherly love at York City Knights - while former favourite Jason Golden is poised to provide a boost to the pack ranks too.
Half-back Benn, who scored a try and two goals in a three-match stint at Huntington Stadium in 2011, returns to the club and brings his little brother with him after both enjoyed fine seasons up at Gateshead Thunder - full-back Luke being nominated for the Championship One Young Player of the Year award.
They become the third set of brothers in the Knights’ 2014 first-team squad, after Ben and Adam Dent and Pat and Ed Smith.
Golden, 27, the former Super League second-row, has also announced via Twitter that he is to re-sign, and, although the new deal is yet unconfirmed, it is likely to be on reduced terms, effectively re-paying the club after he played only four matches on contract money this year before seeing his season wiped out by a shoulder injury.
Knights boss Gary Thornton said of the Hardcastle siblings: “I like the look of them. Like lots of the players signed on, they’re on pay-as-you-play terms and are coming for the right reasons. Hopefully they will take their opportunity with both hands.
“Benn covers the loss of Ben Johnston to Halifax. He’s got a good kicking game and can cause teams problems. He will be a good asset for us.
“Luke has been playing full-back but can play anywhere across the back line. We want to double up in every position so we have competition for places and it is also good to get flexibility with players able to fill different roles.”]
Benn endured only bad luck in his previous time at Huntington Stadium. He broke a leg against the Knights while playing for a young Hull KR team in a friendly in 2009 and, although he scored in the corresponding fixture the following year, he suffered a season-ending knee injury just two months after joining the Knights in March 2011.
He returned to rugby league following a knee reconstruction via his amateur club Hull Dockers before joining Gateshead a year ago. He still works at Hull KR in their community department.
Brother Luke likewise came through the KR junior system and played for Gateshead last year, where dad Mark was assistant-coach to the then boss Kevin Neighbour.
Thornton added: “Benn was here before and is highly rated by the senior players who were here at the time.
“Both of them have been very good up at Gateshead and I think they’ll be big assets for us. No disrespect to Gateshead, but, with better players around them, they should be able to kick on next year.”
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