LIAM Harris hopes that he can lead by example after being appointed as York Knights’ new captain.

The influential half-back succeeds Chris Clarkson in the role following his retirement from the sport at the end of the 2023 season.

Harris played a starring role for the Knights as they secured the unlikeliest of Betfred Championship Play-off finishes last term, taking to the field as their only recognised half-back for the majority of the season after a series of injuries to regular partner Ata Hingano.

As such, he was named as the club’s Graham Steadman Player of the Year, having contributed six tries, 41 goals and three drop-goals across a season that saw him pass both 300 and 350 points in the city’s colours.

The Hull-born star admitted that he had been shocked with the news that head coach Andrew Henderson had presented him with the opportunity.

“It was always one of them, who was going to take over Clarky?” he explained.

“Some of the boys were winding me up and calling me skip before that, but I didn’t actually see it coming!

“I thought it was more of a coach and half-back meeting, to talk about where and how I was going to play moving forward. 

“It took me by surprise.”

York Press: Harris replaces Chris Clarkson as captain following his retirement at the end of the 2023 season.Harris replaces Chris Clarkson as captain following his retirement at the end of the 2023 season.

The news has not sunk in yet for the 26-year-old, but he believes that having worked alongside Tim Spears, Clarkson and veteran forward Danny Kirmond will stand him in good stead for the role despite his young age.

“It’s mad, it hasn’t really settled in yet!” he laughed.

 “It means a lot and is something that I am truly humbled by, it’s an honour to lead like the people have before me in my time with the Knights. 

“Tim Spears and Chris Clarkson, it’s been a pretty good apprenticeship I’ve had under those two and the clubs that I have been at when I was away, Danny Haughton at Hull FC and people like that. 

“I’ve been under some pretty good leaders, and not just leaders that are captains, Danny Kirmond has been one of the best. 

“I’ve learned a lot under him over the last few years and have played alongside him, so there are pieces of leadership skills that I’ve been picking up over the years. 

“Hopefully I can now implement them into my game a little bit more, and hopefully can pass them along too.”

Leading by example is one of Harris’ key values in his new role.

“I think that’s the goal for any captain, to lead by example,” he said. “You don’t want to be someone that can talk the talk but not walk the walk.

“If I look over my game, one thing I can say with confidence is that when we do cross the line, I do lead by example. 

“One thing for certain is that I’ve got the boys’ backs on the pitch, whether it is going right or going wrong. I’ll always step up and give it 100 per cent when I cross that line, and I think the boys know that as well.”

York Press: Harris hopes that he can lead by example in his new role.Harris hopes that he can lead by example in his new role. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Harris is far from the oldest player in the Knights’ confirmed 30-player roster for 2024, and hopes that he can bring together all the experience and level-headedness in the squad to steer them towards a third consecutive Play-off finish.

“I’m only 26 and that’s still relatively young, I hope!

“You’ve got people like Ukuma Ta’ai who’s experience is unbelievable, Richie Myler is a proven winner, Jimmy Keinhorst and people like that, Jordan Thompson who has been at the top as well.

“I look at leadership as a broad subject.

“I think one of the very best professionals I have ever played with is Will Jubb, we’re a very similar age and played all of our amateur careers together. 

“If I was going to point to anyone for professional advice, I wouldn’t point to me, I’d point to him. 

“That’s how you get the best out of everyone, I’m not the best at everything and I don’t want to be either. I understand who is good at what, and bringing all of that together will help us be successful.”

As for what fans can expect from Harris on the field as the club’s new captain, the half-back expects to be extremely vocal.

“I am pretty vocal but that comes as part of my role as a half-back and being at York, you often play with an unrecognised half-back as we’ve seen over the past couple of years,” he admitted.

“You have to be a little bit more vocal than you are used to, but it’s something that I enjoy is leading the boys around the field. 

“I think they respect me for that, so that’s a nice feeling.”