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York City Knights' Jonny Presley targets Championship play-off push in 2013
10:34am Saturday 29th September 2012 in Sport
JONNY PRESLEY will watch tomorrow’s Co-operative Championship Grand Final with keen interest – hoping to get clues into how he could best form a potential half-back partnership with fellow York City Knights newcomer Simon Brown.
As reported by The Press a week ago, two of the worst-kept secrets in the Championships were officially made public when the Knights confirmed they had recruited Presley and Brown for 2013.
Diminutive scrum-half Presley, 28, returns to Huntington Stadium having played there in 2011 before spending this past year in Australia. Stand-off Brown, 23, is poised to join him at York – but only after completing his time at Sheffield with a second successive grand final, in which the Eagles take on champions Featherstone at Warrington tomorrow (4.30pm) looking to overturn their heavy defeat of 12 months ago.
Former Featherstone and Keighley half-back Presley told The Press: “I will be watching, taking a keen interest. Tommy Saxton (Featherstone) is a close friend of mine so I’ll be hoping it goes well for him. But Simon Brown’s been playing well and it would be good if he could get a win, get some silverware, and come to York on the back of that.
“I don’t know him personally but from playing against him, he’s got some good quality. He’s got a very good kicking game and is a good organiser I’ve heard.
“We could complement each other at half-back as we’re a bit different in how we play and hopefully it will be a good partnership.”
That said, Presley was used at hooker as well as half-back in his last stint at York and could yet find himself in that role again.
Asked which position he preferred, he said: “It’s probably half-back but I enjoyed my time at nine when I was there. If I was to get an extended run there then that might be it. It depends on what the coach wants. I will be happy to play wherever he thinks I can be of most benefit to the team.”
Presley loved his time down under and hopes his experience of Australian rugby league will make him a better player back home. He played for Fremantle Roosters, helping his club to third place in the Harvey Norman Premiership ladder in Western Australia and winning a call-up to the representative state side.
“Life there is brilliant. It’s so laid-back, which goes well with my personality really,” he said.
“In terms of rugby league, the standard (of the Premiership in Western Australia) is probably like Championship One but the state games were a high standard. It’s seen as a rugby league development area and a lot of the coaches are from strong backgrounds, like Newcastle Knights, so hopefully I picked up a few things that will have improved my game.”
Presley confirmed he wanted nothing other than to return to the Minster city upon the end of his spell on the other side of the world. He now wants to help lift the Knights up the Championship standings after two years in the doldrums in which they avoided relegation only by default.
“I’m glad to be back,” he said. “I was always going to come back after one year and I always wanted to come back to York City Knights.
“The club is really well-run. Despite last season and having a poor year, I think the club is moving forward and has the foundations to have a good year next year.
“I would like us to be pushing for the play-offs. On a personal note, I want to work hard in pre-season, have a good pre-season, and make sure I’m starting in the team come the first game of the season.
“York was where I wanted to go. I didn’t want to look down other avenues. I wanted to come back to York and hopefully have a more successful year than the first time I was here in 2011. I think with the players we’re recruiting, I think we will do, and hopefully I can play a part in that.”