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Luke Hardbottle proves a hit in Australia
LUKE HARDBOTTLE’S Aussie club have labelled the 24-year-old a great ambassador for the English game ahead of his return to Blighty with York City Knights.
As revealed in The Press yesterday, Hardbottle is to rejoin the Knights in February at the end of his two-year visa down under, where he played for Central Newcastle in the Newcastle Rugby League Tooheys Cup.
The former Leeds Rhinos youngster had previously made the loose-forward berth his own at Huntington Stadium in 2010 as he helped the Knights to promotion to the Championship.
Michelle Portelli, secretary of Central Newcastle, said he was a much-loved character with the ‘Butcher Boys’, having joined them in 2011 with another former Knights youngster, Johnny Schofield.
“Luke was a great ambassador for his origin, ‘England’. He came to the club in high spirits and had a great rapport with all,” she said.
“He was a great inspiration on the paddock – often confusing the opposition with his calls on play that only his team-mates could translate.
“His often cheeky personality saw him on occasions as the centre of attention, which he of course took all in his stride.”
Hardbottle missed only one game in 2011, scoring one try in 18 appearances. He played only three times this year before his season was curtailed by injury.
Meanwhile, the Knights are to hold an open trial for their under-19s academy side tomorrow morning.
The club had an U18s team last year but the Rugby Football League is switching its Super League reserve-grade academy age level from U20s to U19s.
The Championships’ U18s youth format is duly moving up a year to sit in line with that.
Players eligible must be 16 or over on September 1, 2012, and under 19 on August 31 this year.
The trial will be York College, at 9am for a 9.30am start, meeting in the college’s main sports area/changing rooms (near the 3G pitch and main car park, not those at the grass pitches).
• York-born scrum-half Ben Johnston, who had a dual-registration spell at the Knights last season, has signed a new two-year contract at Super League club Castleford.