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John Davies happy to be ‘wanted’ man
PLAYER of the month John Davies admits he is flattered by York City Knights’ advances to sign him for 2013.
The 21-year-old second row ace, whose performances over the past few weeks have seen him voted by fans as the The Press’ star man during June, is one of new coach Gary Thornton’s key targets as he looks to build a squad for the Co-operative Championship next season.
Davies, out of contract at Castleford at the end of the season and in his second spell on dual-registration terms following a similar arrangement last year, was coached by incoming boss Thornton at the Tigers’ Under-20s and is well aware of the new arrival’s qualities.
Most importantly, having been on the fringes at Wheldon Road over the past five years, Davies is determined to grab a place at a club where he enjoys his rugby – and it might just be that the Knights fit the bill.
“It is nice that the fans and readers voted,” said Davies of his The Press player of the month honour. “It is nice to be thought of as a player of the month at York and from the fans who watch you week in and week out.
“I have always performed well when I have played at York and I’m having another successful time there. I always enjoy it. The lads are really good, as are all the backroom staff. It seems to get the best out of me.
“Everyone has made me feel really welcome and, when everything happens like that, you perform better.”
“It is always nice to be wanted,” Davies added, when asked about Thornton’s stated desire to keep him at York.
“It’s very flattering for someone to come out and say that. I’m not really an established player and it’s great for him to say ‘if we want anyone, we would like to get you’.
“I keep in touch with Gary and it’s not really worked out for me at Cas. I think I am looking for a change and going part-time next year, regardless of Super League prospects. I’m quite tired of being someone on the fringe.
“I want to be able to enjoy my rugby and York is definitely an option. A few clubs in the Championship are interested in me but there is no point going somewhere if I am not going to enjoy myself.
“The main thing is to be happy in what you are doing. If you are happy you then get the results and the performance.”
Davies has a lot of respect for Thornton, having seen him at work at close quarters.
With relegation re-established in the Championship next season, the forward is convinced the new man at the helm is the right choice to take the club forward and to new heights.
Crucially, he is a big fan of the way the former Batley boss plays rugby league.
He explained: “He’s all about attack. He plays expansive rugby but he reiterates the basics as well. I really like him. He’s really honest and fair and that’s all you can ask for. Anyone who is like that makes you gain respect a lot easier – opposed to someone who is a bit funny in the way they deal with people.
“He is a great man manager and he gets the best out of players. I think his appointment is a great result for the Knights. He’s the right choice and, in respect of how the club wants to move forward, he is great.
“You want to build a professional club culture and, with where he has been, he is the right guy to do that.”
With only a home victory against Swinton Lions to show for the Championship season to date, Davies and his colleagues travel to Keighley Cougars tomorrow facing another stern test as they bid to double their tally.
But Davies reckons fate has been against York too many times this year and he believes that, contrary to results, outgoing player-coach Chris Thorman’s side are not too far away from consistently getting on the right side of results.
“We’re probably the most unlucky team in the league,” he said. “The club lost in the last minute against Halifax at the start of the year and things have gone on from there.
“We got the first win but, with players like myself on dual registration, if one or two can’t play it can really affect the team.
“Last week, Danny Nicklas got called back to Hull and we were scrabbling around to find a half-back. It affected us a lot.
“Everything is nearly there. If we can get one or two really good players then we would be set.”
The Press Player of the Year standings: Aldous 18pts, Sullivan 15, Ford 13, King 9, Davies 7, Thorman 7, Tansey 7, Bush 7, Clarke 5, Elliott 4, Sutton 4, Garside 4, Green 3, Lee 3, Hellewell 3, Turner 3, Freer 3, Houston 3, Johnson 3, Nicklas 2.