RYAN ATKINS says it was a "privilege" to make his competitive debut for York City Knights last week.

The off-season recruit from Wakefield Trinity bagged a final-minute try on his maiden appearance for York to ensure a 30-6 win in the Betfred Challenge Cup at Sheffield Eagles.

Atkins was one of five debutants picked by head coach James Ford at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium and the former England international expressed his pride at wearing the Knights jersey for the first time.

He said: "All the hard work has been done now in pre-season, so it’s the fun time now. It was good to be out there because it’s been a long time coming. I was blowing in a few parts of the game!

“To pull the York shirt on is a privilege. By no means was that a perfect performance by myself or by the squad, but we’ve laid some great foundations so I think that if we can go up another level we can be a really dangerous team.”

As well as last week's fixture being York's first competitive match in over a year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the game also marked the club's first since the new rules surrounding the ending of scrums and the introduction of the six-again.

"It is a quicker game, especially for the lads in the middle," added Atkins. I’m glad that I’m not in the middle and I hope Fordy doesn’t put me in there!

“It’s a quick game and that’s where we need to be a bit smarter, giving (away) those back-to-back penalties is something that we need to take away from our game.

“We want to dominate games. We want to speed it up when we want to speed it up and we want to slow it down when we want to slow it down."

While the perfectly-timed cut-out pass from Brendan O'Hagan and the defence-splitting run from Marcus Stock may have made the highlights package, York's defence effort was just as impressive.

Having been under the cosh for prolonged, they conceded just once against a play-off chasing Sheffield.

“Being on our try line for ten minutes and not conceding, it’s something that we’ve trained hard at over the off-season and it showed and it paid off," said the 35-year-old.

“Obviously, if you can prevent the opposition from scoring, you’ve got a good chance of winning.

“I think that there’s areas that we need to fix up on in attack, which can be done no problem.”

Next up for York is a Challenge Cup tie at London Broncos, the joint-third favourites with the bookmakers to win the Betfred Championship, alongside the Knights.

Atkins said: “I think that it’s about us and our performances. We will regroup, watch the video, analyse it, and look to put the wrongs right in training.

“We just need to focus on our performances and then the results will look after themselves.

“Every game is going to be tough, no matter who we play, so as long as we keep going up a level week-in, week-out, we’ll be alright come the busy and exciting part of the season."