YORK Knights have signed talented young hooker Taylor Pemberton on a three-year contract following his successful loan spell at the club last season.

Pemberton arrived at the LNER Community Stadium from Betfred Super League heavyweights St Helens on transfer deadline day in August and asserted himself as one of the club’s brightest prospects.

The 20-year-old’s first contribution for the club came just a minute into his debut, the young talent backing himself with a superb dart out of dummy half in their thrilling 40-30 victory at Widnes Vikings on August 20.

Despite seeing his debut cut short by a rib injury in the second half, Pemberton described the match as the most enjoyable 40 minutes of his career, telling The Press that he could not believe that he had made such an instant impact.

EXCL: Pemberton on Knights debut, half-back cameo and 'most enjoyable 40 of his career'

He then went onto feature in the Knights’ wins against Newcastle Thunder, Swinton Lions, Batley Bulldogs and Bradford Bulls, kicking a grubber into the path of top-scorer AJ Towse to help secure an outstanding 20-10 victory for Andrew Henderson’s side at Odsal.

Whilst predominantly a hooker, Pemberton can cover at loose forward, half-back or in the back row, with his versatility a valued trait amid the Knights’ unprecedented injury crisis last term.

And following his release from Saints at the end of the 2023 season, head coach Andrew Henderson has wasted no time in securing his services for the next three years.

The 20-year-old is “made up” to have made the permanent move to York, having loved the time he spent on loan at the club earlier this year.

"When I got the phone call offering me the opportunity to come here permanently, it was something I couldn't say no to and I snatched it with both hands,” he enthused.

"Coming here to York last season, I found a love for the game again and it's made me realise why I play rugby.

"I can't thank the fans and the club enough for making me feel so welcome here.

"I've still got plenty to learn as a player, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season, gelling with the lads even more and getting ready to rip in from round one."

EXCL: Pemberton 'absolutely loving' life at York Knights amid St Helens loan

Head coach Henderson had hinted at his desire to retain Pemberton’s services after the aforementioned Odsal victory and is looking forward to developing his skills further at the Knights.

“Taylor came on my radar at the back end of the 2022 season when I was at Keighley Cougars and I’ve kept an eye on him ever since,” he explained.

“He became available to us late last season and I was very impressed with Taylor as a person and as a player. Taylor slotted straight in and I was really impressed by his performances.

“He is still a young player, who is in the development phase of his career, so next year gives him a good chance to grow and build his game, while being challenged by some hooker alongside him.

“There’s still so much more to come from Taylor and I’m really looking forward to working with him further and hopefully in the long-term, we’ll see the best from him here at York!”

Pemberton becomes the Knights’ 19th confirmed squad member for the 2024 season alongside Jesse Dee, AJ Towse, Ata Hingano, Conor Fitzsimmons, Jordan Thompson, James Cunningham, Myles Harrison, Ronan Michael, Jack Teanby, Ukuma Ta'ai, Pauli Pauli, Harry Price, Brenden Santi, Levi Edwards, Oli Field, Will Dagger and Jimmy Keinhorst.