Knights bridge building ‘not before time’ – York Acorn boss

York Press: Scott Rhodes Scott Rhodes

FORMER York City Knights skipper and current York Acorn ARLC boss Scott Rhodes reckons new bridges between the two clubs have long been needed.

The Knights have agreed a memorandum of understanding with Acorn – as well as other amateur clubs in the city – to work together more for the benefit of players and clubs.

Rhodes, a former Heworth ARLC junior who turned into a Knights half-back, says he called for better links when he took the reins at the Blue and Golds three years ago, even though he has since had his own gripes with the Huntington Stadium outfit.

“I think it’s needed,” said the 33-year-old. “When I first joined Acorn I talked about it then. There has been a rift between amateur clubs and the Knights for one reason or another but a lot of it is misunderstanding.

“There were times when they come for players at whatever notice and leave the amateur clubs short, with no proper pathway. It breeds ill-feeling. Hopefully we can get that right.

“Personally I would love it if my players do well enough to get a chance at the pro game. I’d love to send players there and see them play at the highest level they can. But it has to be done the right way. We need to develop them right so that when they do go to the Knights they are ready to play and aren’t just making up the numbers.

“Hopefully we can help them more with juniors, instead of seeing them head to other clubs, and hopefully they can provide us with players coming the other way, either from schools programmes or open age players who want to play at the highest level in the amateur game. We all want to help young lads in York become better players.

“I think it will work – I hope so. It’s a good start. It’s something the city needs to boost rugby league and we’re happy to go along with it.

“Young players will get a better level of coaching there than we can offer at Acorn and we’ve talked about other ways the Knights can help out.”

Rhodes will also now scout for the Knights, recommending players not only from the Thanet Road ranks but also from teams he comes across in the National Conference League.

“Maybe I can send players there who I think are good enough to get a chance at pro level. The players themselves need to want it, obviously, but it’s another good link,” he said.

“Hopefully we can all get more York players in the pro game. When I played for the Knights we had lots of talented York lads – like myself, Mark Cain, Daz Callaghan, Richie Hayes, Alex Godfrey, Craig Forsyth. Hopefully we can get that again and build the local interest that brings.”

Rhodes, meanwhile, has warned the Knights they will be in for a tough encounter when he takes charge of a York Select XIII for the pre-season friendly on February 16.

It will be his first time in charge of the representative team comprising players from each of the city’s amateur clubs.

“Of course I want to win,” he said. “I’ll try to pick the right players and will make it as competitive as I can. These games have been close over the last few years.

“Let’s get a good crowd there and make it a good day.”

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