CONNOR Bailey has signed for York Knights on a two-year deal from Newcastle Thunder.

He becomes the Knights’ second signing from the Kingston Park club in as many days, following yesterday's acquisition of New Zealand playmaker Nikau Williams.

The 23-year-old began his career at Wakefield Trinity, going on to feature in all five of their Betfred Super League matches in 2020 before the season was curtailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

He returned to the North East the following season on-loan, a haul of four tries in 18 appearances earning him a permanent contract.

Bailey went on to score two tries in 25 appearances in 2022, including against York, before enjoying his most prolific season to date last term, scoring five tries in 30 appearances as an ever-present in Chris Thorman’s side.

Those included against Sheffield Eagles at Summer Bash in York at the end of May, and a consolation on the final whistle in their 56-10 thrashing by newly-promoted London Broncos in July.

Despite his young age, Bailey boasts considerable Betfred Championship experience, having made a combined 72 appearances over the last three seasons with the Thunder.

Though arriving in North Yorkshire primarily as a back-rower, Bailey has turned out at half-back, loose forward and in the second row in 2023. He has also played at centre and hooker during his career, adding a desirable versatility to Andrew Henderson’s squad.

He has also played alongside several Knights, including Jesse Dee and Ukuma Ta'ai.

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Bailey believes that York is a club that is only going forwards in their ambitions to play in the top-flight, citing that as one of the contributory factors of his move.

"I'm over the moon to have signed for the Knights!” he enthused.

“York is definitely a club that is going in the right direction and pushing to reach the top.

"I’m privileged to be part of this team and club and I can't wait to get started.

"Having met up with Hendo and Clint and spoken to them about where they want the club to go and what their goals are, I'd have been silly to turn it down!

"This is a club that I'm really excited to be part of and I'm already looking forward to 2024."

Henderson admitted that he believed that Bailey had been one of Newcastle’s standout players last term despite their relegation to League One, and that he has the potential to be a Super League player again in the future.

“I'm really excited to be able to bring Connor to the York Knights,” he added.

"Connor is another relatively young player to come on board, with past experience through the system at Wakefield Trinity and at Newcastle, where I thought he was one of their standout players in 2023.

"He's got the athletic potential to be a Betfred Super League player of the future and he's got great skills for a forward.

"I see him as a ball-playing loose forward or a back-rower on an edge. He's got a tremendous skill-set, great leg speed and athletically he has all the attributes needed to be a quality player of the future."

Bailey becomes the Knights' 21st 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, Taylor Pemberton and Nikau Williams.