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Knights bring Super League second-row Jason Golden back to Huntington Stadium
NEW head coach Gary Thornton has hailed the recruitment of Super League second-row Jason Golden as a “fantastic” coup for York City Knights .
As revealed on thepress.co.uk yesterday and later confirmed in a club announcement, Golden, released by London Broncos last week, has signed a one-year deal at Huntington Stadium, coming back to the club that launched him into rugby league’s top tier.
Thornton says it “more than makes up” for missing out on Featherstone’s Andy Bostock and Dewsbury’s Rob Spicer, who had been notable named targets, and reckons it shows the club’s intentions for 2013.
“It’s fantastic news,” the incoming boss told the Press. “We were disappointed when we missed out on Andy Bostock and Rob Spicer but this more than makes up for it. When we found out he was available we did what we could to get him here, and I’m delighted with the way the deal has gone through.
“He’s just what we’re looking for in the back row. He’s got a good few years in Super League behind him and he will come back to York a bigger and better player than when he left – and he was pretty good back then too.
“It shows the commitment of the club to bring in players of that calibre for next year.
“Everyone here was disappointed with how the club finished this season but we’re doing what we can to make sure we’re much more successful in 2013.”
Golden, then 20, made his name at York in 2006 after joining from Leeds Rhinos’ academy, scoring six tries in 22 appearances and twice being named a Press Player of the Month in that National League One (Championship) campaign.
He impressed enough in that one year to merit a rise to Super League with home-town club Wakefield, with whom he played 37 times, scoring eight tries, in two seasons.
He then switched to the capital, where he has spent the last four years. He made 42 appearances in his first two seasons with Harlequins, scoring three tries, but has since had two years blighted with injury. He played only five times in 2011 and, this year, has made only nine appearances for the renamed Broncos, scoring one try.
It comes as a surprise that he has not sought a new Super League deal in his native north following his release from The Stoop, but Thornton says that is the Knights’ gain.
He also stressed the player, with plenty of years left in him, still had a hunger for the game, regardless of his drop back into the part-time arena.“We knew London Broncos were releasing him but we weren’t sure if he was looking for another Super League deal and weren’t sure how realistic a target he would be,” he explained. “When we became aware he was available, we made it a priority.
“I’m a bit surprised – you might have thought someone like Castleford or Salford or even Wakefield, someone of that ilk, might have expressed an interest in him – but I’m really pleased either way as their loss is our gain. He’s a fantastic signing for us and brings a lot of experience both in Super League and the Championship.”
Thornton added: “He’s still got a hunger – there’s no doubt about that. He’s been hit fairly hard with injuries in the last year or so but he’s really looking forward to coming here. He’s said to me he wants to get back and start enjoying his rugby again and that’s a good sign. I’m convinced he’s coming for the right reasons.”
Thornton did not go as far as saying the moves for Bostock and Spicer were just a smokescreen for negotiations with Golden – with the club insisting both those other bids were genuine – but he did say: “I thought Bostock and Spicer were long shots as both had expressed concerns about travelling – finishing work late and not getting over in time for training.
“But people need to know we’re targetting that quality of player and we’re serious about next year. For me, I’m more than happy with this signing.”
• London Broncos have ended speculation over their immediate future by confirming they will continue to play at the Twickenham Stoop, which they share with Harlequins, in 2013.