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Hull prop Austin Bell signs for York City Knights
YORK City Knights are hoping “no-nonsense” prop Austin Bell can follow in the impact-making footsteps of double Player of the Year Jack Aldous after they snapped him up from Hull.
Bell, 21, has been released by the Super League club but, like Aldous 12 months ago, he has made a quick switch to Championship outfit York, putting pen to paper just a few hours after being offered a 12-month part-time contract.
Aldous recently picked up The Press Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards, and, asked if Bell could prove to be as big a success at Huntington Stadium, Knights general manager Ian Wilson said: “Austin’s a pretty no-nonsense, no frills prop.
“He carries the ball hard and straight. He’s a bit bigger than Jack but he’s got a similar work ethic and does all the hard stuff.”
Wilson said Bell had been “very close” to getting a new full-time deal at the Airlie Birds but, with the likes of former Knights loanee Chris Green pushing him further down the first-team pecking order at the KC Stadium, and with his being too old for next year’s new-look under-19s reserves team, they decided to let him go.
“He was borderline when it came to being offered a new contract,” said Wilson of the young gun who has been a fixture in Hull’s U20s reserves.
“He comes highly recommended by (Hull reserves boss) Lee Radford. He’s tough and is a strong ball-carrier and strong defender. He’s got a good attitude and we think he will be a good addition to our squad and bring good competition for places.”
The former Skirlaugh junior adds to the Hull contingent in the Knights’ squad and becomes the fifth front-rower signed up for 2013, after Nathan Freer, Adam Sullivan, Jack Aldous and Paul King – all of whom also hail from Humberside.
The Press understands one more prop, probably out of the Super League reserves arena, is to be added to the pack prior to pre-season. Another forward from a rival Championship club is also set to come to Huntington Stadium this autumn – probably being announced at some point next week, after Sunday’s grand final between Sheffield and Featherstone.
Both Bell and the unnamed other young prop are well-known to new Knights head coach Gary Thornton, who comes to Huntington Stadium after three years in charge of Castleford’s U20s reserves.
Wilson said: “Gary has seen Austin play several times having coached against him in the last couple of years, as well as seeing the DVD footage. Austin also played against York in the pre-season friendly at the start of this year and looked good.”
Bell is no relation to Danny Bell, who came to York from Hull FC three years ago but left without playing a first-team came, or fellow Hullensian Ian Bell, who had two short stints at Huntington Stadium.