YORK Knights have signed Kiwi playmaker Nikau Williams on a two-year deal from Newcastle Thunder.

The New Zealand half-back becomes their fourth off-season signing, following Will Dagger, Jimmy Keinhorst and young hooker Taylor Pemberton through the doors at the LNER Community Stadium.

The 23-year-old made a name for himself at fellow Betfred Championship outfit Whitehaven, for whom he scored 12 tries and kicked 47 goals in 55 appearances before signing for Newcastle on a one-and-a-half year deal ahead of the 2023 season.

He impressed for the Cumbrian club, playing a key role in their run to the Championship Play-offs in 2021, a sixth-placed standing that was the club’s highest-placed finish since 2009.

Williams was also an ever-present in the Whitehaven squad the following season, finishing as their top points scorer thanks to a nine try and 47-goal haul.

Though the Thunder were relegated at the end of the 2023 season, the playmaker caught the eye, scoring four tries, 50 goals and one drop goal to contribute a club-high 117 points to the scoreboard.

His 25 appearances last term included all three of Newcastle’s clashes with the Knights, in which he scored seven out of his eight attempts from the tee as his side were thrice defeated across both the Championship and Betfred Challenge Cup competitions.

Such goal-kicking ability, combined with over 70 second-tier appearances and a strong fitness record will prove advantageous to York, who fielded as many as nine half-back combinations through 2023 owing to injuries to Ata Hingano and Player of the Year Liam Harris.

Williams believes that his best is yet to come at the Knights and is looking forward to making his mark at the club, saying: “I’m really excited to have signed for the York Knights and I’m really keen to get stuck into pre-season and rip in with the rest of the boys.

“Coming up against York over the past couple of years, it’s clear to how professional the Club is and their visions really suited what I’m looking to achieve in my career.

“I’d like to think of myself as a ball-running half that likes to play off the cuff and I’d like to think I can bring that style to York.

“I’m still young and I’m still learning all the time so hopefully I can bring my best footy to the Knights!”