York City Knights reporter Peter Martini reveals the men to carry the Knights standard during the 2016 season:
Previously a prolific try-scorer with Sheffield and Super League player with Castleford, he joined York as a player in 2011 from Widnes. Was named captain and topped try-scoring chart in 2012, then became U20s coach and player-assistant to first-team boss Gary Thornton. Took over reins at end of 2014 after Thornton’s Championship One title-winning team crashed out of promotion play-offs and he earned plaudits aplenty for the way he led the team through last year's off-field strife caused by the York community stadium saga. Finished the year fourth in table - and six seconds from the play-off final before losing to Swinton in extra time of the semi.
Assistant-coach/team manager: Will Leatt
York St John University sports coaching graduate who impressed so much with his attitude, ability and attention to detail during an internship that the club demanded he stayed.
Tutoring colleague of James Ford at Wakefield College, where they have both coached in a rugby league development centre. A number two off the pitch and a leader on it, with his experience and steady hand in the middle likely to be important again.
Assistant-coach: Neil Hinchsliff
Arrived in July from Newcastle Thunder's boot room, effectively to fill the sizeable hole left by club stalwart Mick Ramsden. Father-in-law of club captain James Haynes, he hails from Hull's strong rugby league scene and coaches in Hull KR's academy set-up.
Strength and conditioning coach: Mark Helme
Another staff member at Wakefield College's highly regarded sports department, where he is head conditioner. Has formerly worked with Castleford Tigers, Wakefield Wildcats and England Colleges footballers. Joined last July.
Strength and condition assistant: Dan Biggs.
Chief physio: Emma Beaglehole
Sports therapist: Laura Murphy
Match-day assistant: George Leatt
Club doctor: Dr Hermann Knut
Date of birth: 3/4/91
The Press Player of the Year in 2012 and 2014, and now the team captain. Not the biggest prop but "Mr Duracell" is ever-reliable and gets through more work than most week after week after week.
Former Press Player of the Year returned from Batley as player/assistant-coach ahead of last season. Brought experience, knowhow and strength to the forwards, having played in every position in the pack, barring hooker, during his career.
Former scholarship starlet became Knights’ then youngest-ever player when entering as a sub at Widnes in April 2011 and became a regular in 2013 while still a teenager. Rapid out of dummy-half, regularly gets over the whitewash whenever the play-the-ball is near the try-line and his tackling technique means he punches above his weight. Also developing his passing and game management from hooker.
Back at the club where he effectively launched his career, re-signing after a decade at Dewsbury Rams. Misses first couple of weeks of the season as he comes back from hernia op but will then provide power, pace and much-needed experience to the outside-backs.
Was coached by James Ford at Wakefield College and went on to be a standout player for the Knights U18s, U20s and reserves. Lacks size but makes up for it with zip and is said to be beyond his years in game management. Probably didn't fill the massive boots vacated by former Player of the Year Jack Lee a year ago but has time on his side if he continues to work. Will be hoping to fully announce himself at first-team level this year.
Youngster who rose out of Heworth ARLC ranks is a fitness freak and looks better whenever he plays with confidence and vigour. Will want to impose himself more this year and continue on upward curve.
Possibly seen as back-up in the outside-backs but has scored seven tries in nine appearances in last two years after following big brother Ben from U20s into first grade.
Former New Earswick ARLC youngster broke into the first team at the end of 2013 and in 2014 was a try-scoring sensation on the wing - the second top scorer in Championship One with 18, and with 20 in 23 appearances in all. Played much of last term at full-back and showed another dimension to his game. Has missed much of pre-season due to headache-type symptoms and starts campaign on sidelines.
Bit of a coup for the Knights when he signed from relegated Doncaster given several Championship clubs, as well as the Dons and others in League One, were bidding for him. Quickly installed as vice-captain. Brings grit and grunt as well as ability.
Punchy and hard-running, he joined York towards end of 2010 and was man of the match in Grand Final victory. Quickly became a fan favourite but has since been luckless with injuries. Missed all of 2012 with sciatic nerve problem and duly struggled for form and fitness in 2013, so returned to amateur game. With confidence and sharpness restored, he took his chance back at York in 2014 so much so he became team captain - only to then require knee reconstruction in August which will keep him out for much of this year.
Probably unlucky to feature in only four of the eight games, each time as substitute, since arriving on loan from Batley in July. Tall and rangy runner, the 21-year-old should get chance to nail down a spot in the centres once he returns from a broken hand suffered after scoring in the friendly against Castleford.
Arriving from Huddersfield last April, initially on loan, the young, athletic front-rower - and noted boxer - went on to make ten appearances in between niggling injuries. Signed a new deal in October but was quickly sidelined by horror pectoral injury in the gym and will not return until mid-summer after surgery to reattach tendon to bone.
Sharlston ARLC product signed in May 2013 after successful trial. Rarely looked out of place in the Championship and certainly not in League One. Aggressive in defence and can move up to middle unit when required.
Tall, strong, athletic, quick - has the physical ingredients to be an excellent rugby league centre, potentially even following his mate Greg Minikin from Knights academy all the way to Super League. Impressed in early 2014 when used eight times by then boss Gary Thornton but after falling down the pecking order went off to Harrogate RU. Returned late last year under old academy mentor James Ford and hopes are high he can kick on.
Previously a regular try scorer for Sheffield and Doncaster and bagged 12 in 23 games for York last year. Occasional difficulty under swirling high ball is countered by strong all-round game, especially when playing with confidence.
Younger brother of former Knights favourite Matt, he joined last year from Featherstone U19s and became arguably York's find of the season, easily topping the try-scoring charts among the front-rowers with eight. Can be a big player again this year if second-season syndrome isn't an issue.
His last spell at Huntington Stadium - on loan from Hull in 2013 - ended controversially as he reportedly said he'd sign permanently for Gary Thornton when released by Hull but promptly joined Hull KR. That switch didn't pay off and, after loan spells at Gateshead and Gloucestershire, joined Doncaster in 2014. Impressed early on in the Championship but was sidelined for a year due to a knee reconstruction. Returned last April but was released in July - not long after Thornton took the Dons reins. Has re-joined York after successful trial and coach James Ford is optimistic he can turn his talent into consistent quality.
Rapid scrum-half has played for Featherstone, Keighley and, down under, with Fremantle and now enters fourth season of his second spell at York. Holds Knights best of six tries in a game, set in record 2011 Challenge Cup win over Northumbria University. A key man for James Ford due to ability as a support player and finisher - he might be veteran now but he hasn't lost his pace - and also for sticking to game plans.
A local product, and the club’s then youngest-ever player in 2010, he seems to have been around for ages, with 97 first-team appearances already, but is still only 23. Formed a great combination on the edges last year with Greg Minikin but now has to find a new partner in crime. Still, is one of the most consistent and complete second-rows in League One and seems to get better and better.
Quick with his wit and his feet, he arrived at hometown club, to join younger brother Ed, two years ago after several seasons learning under Mark Aston at Sheffield, where he was largely a back-up player for the then Championship champions. Became club captain at York, largely for his intelligence and organisational capabilities, but has had to forfeit the armband over pre-season as his day job has taken him to Germany for much of that time. Will no doubt fight to get back in the team.
Another of the quintet to arrive from Doncaster, where he had been a stalwart in the pack. Big and mean, with good go-forward, he will want to return to the Championship with his new club.
Began his pro career as stand-off/loose-forward before evolving into second-rower. Started at Dewsbury, making debut in 2009 before loan spell with Castleford, primarily in their academy. Became a Rams regular in 2011 and made 72 appearances before falling down pecking order and making his way to York towards end of 2014. Has been a revelation since - not the biggest back-rower but always runs hard, fast and true.
Back at York for another go in pro arena, this time as a full-back having first made 14 appearances as half-back/hooker for Chris Thorman's Championship strugglers in 2012. Very fast and fit, and, after winning international honours in the amateur arena as a West Hull ace, will be eager to show his all-round game can succeed at this level.
Man mountain launched pro career at York in 2010 promotion season - earning nickname Wrecking Ball - before having good spells at Gateshead and Doncaster. Now returns to bring considerable size to the Knights' forwards... and hopefully to wreck more opposition packs.
Fiery flier starred for Doncaster as they took Championship by storm in 2014 but was injury hit as they were relegated last year. Quick, elusive runner who can create chances from nothing. Get him clicking with the outside-backs and he could rapidly become a fan favourite.
Former York Acorn ARLC junior and youth international was granted a trial on return from a year in Australia. Strapping six-footer previously had a spell in Hull's academy before signing for Wakefield, turning out against Leeds in a first-team friendly in 2014 but unable to break onto the Super League scene.