KIERAN DIXON says the year-long wait to return to the field has given him a new-found appreciation for rugby league.

This week marks a year since Dixon, and most of his York City Knights team-mates, last competed before the coronavirus pandemic struck and ended the 2020 season below Betfred Super League.

Dixon is one of several new recruits at York who are set to make their first appearances for the club in Thursday night's friendly at home to Hull FC (7.30pm).

And he says he's raring to go again after such a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“I can’t wait”, sighed Dixon. “It almost feels brand new again as it’s been about a year since we last played. To think that that much time has passed and the way life has changed since then is incredible.

“To be able to put the boots on and run out against opposition again will be really refreshing.

“This period has been a massive realisation of how much it meant to me. I know I’m not the only player that has… not fallen out with rugby but found it difficult at times to go through the process.

“To have it taken away, outside of everyone’s controls, does put into perspective how much of a massive part in our lives it plays.

“To be able to play again and do what I love doing is going to be incredible.”

The winger joined York from fellow Betfred Championship rivals London Broncos in the off-season and as a well-proven try-scorer at this level will bring plenty of pace and flair on the flanks.

On the move, Dixon explained: “I was coming to the end of my contract at London and then the pandemic kicked in and we only played the beginning of that season.

“I felt like I wanted a fresh start to test myself away from there and James (Ford) had spoken to me a few times previously and he expressed his interest in getting me up to York.

“It seemed like a good choice because it’s a team that have a lot of going for them. They’ve got the new stadium – which I can’t wait to get into – and they’ve built a really good squad as well.

“I spoke to Fordy about how he saw the team going moving forward, what their ambitions were and what he thought of me.

"They were all positive talks.”

The 28-year-old was a key member of the London side which won promotion to Super League in 2018, defeating Toronto Wolfpack in the Million Pound Game in Canada, and, as a result, he knows all about what it takes to reach the top tier.

“To have experienced it already, it was an incredible feeling and I know the effort that the boys put in at the time and the dedication that it took for us to get to that position," Dixon added.

“Being here at York, with the squad that we’ve got now, I really feel like we’ve got the drive to put the team into Super League.

“We were quite gutted that we didn’t get that final spot (in Super League), that Leigh got.

"But there’s nothing we can do to change that decision.

“We now can focus on putting ourselves in that position through effort and the way that we want to play rugby.

“(At London), I think we just gelled as a team, there were no cliques and everyone got along.

"There was no massive names in there, it was full of people who had something to prove and wanted to achieve something.

"I think that was what gave us that edge."