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Paul King contract a boost for ailing York City Knights
The 33-year-old former Super League stalwart and one-time Great Britain prop – seen as a key figure on and off the field at the club – has penned a one-year extension to his contract.
It is likely to be the last season of his long career and, according to Knights general manager Ian Wilson, he is aiming to finish on a high, especially after the disappointments of this season. He may also take a more prominent role in training to help bring on youngsters in the ranks.
Said Wilson: “He’s said it will be his last season and he wants to go out with a bang.
“We think he’s been an important player to have in the team and around the club. When Gary Thornton was announced as the new head coach for next season, he formulated a list of players he wanted to keep and Paul King was right up there.”
King has been bedevilled by injuries this year ever since breaking a rib in the pre-season friendly against his former club Hull. He is almost certainly ruled out of the last game of the season at home to Hunslet a week tomorrow due to ankle and elbow problems, meaning he will have sat out 12 of the Knights’ 24 games. In the other 12, he often played through the pain barrier.However, Wilson is optimistic those injury issues will not strike again next year.
“He’s not played for a few weeks unfortunately but he will now have chance to get right for pre-season and next year,” he said. “He’s picked up a few freak injuries this year since the broken rib in pre-season – and contracting pneumonia shortly after didn’t help.
“He’s not had great luck this year but I don’t think anyone can question his form on the field when he has played.
“He’s a leader, and he gives other players confidence when they’re playing alongside him. He’s vastly experienced and he’s got a physical presence on the pitch. He’s ideal to play alongside people like Adam Sullivan, Jack Aldous and Nathan Freer in the props and he offers something a bit different. He’s got a lot of skill as well – as we’ve seen with him playing at loose-forward this year.”
As for King’s influence on up-and-coming players at Huntington Stadium, Wilson said: “He’s very good with the younger players in training. He’s a good talker and he spends time working with young players, getting out early at training and doing extras.
“He wants to do a bit more of that if he can as well, for people coming through – the likes of Tim Stubbs, Joe Hemmings and Liam Ellis.
“For them to get to work with someone like Paul King is priceless.”
Former York dual-reg half-back Danny Nicklas has been given a new contract at Hull FC for 2013.