SIMPLY finishing in the Betfred Championship Play-offs in 2024 will not cut it for new York Knights captain Liam Harris.

The Knights backed up a first ever Play-off Eliminator victory in 2022 with the unlikeliest of sixth-placed finishes in 2023, overtaking Halifax Panthers in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season following a remarkable run of 10 wins from their final 11 regular season matches.

But for Harris, who penned a new two-year deal with the Knights earlier this month, matching that is not enough.

A top-four finish guarantees an all-important home tie during the Play-off competition, and that is something that the half-back firmly has his eyes on.

“We want to be top four, top three, top two or top one,” he boldly claimed.

“It’s not good enough just reaching the play-offs, and we shouldn’t be celebrating just reaching the play-offs, especially with the quality we have in this team now.

“We need to be looking up and really challenging at the top end.”

The Knights have recruited well over the off-season, adding 10 new faces to a 20-player retained list that already includes the likes of fan favourite Bailey Antrobus and 2023 top-scorer AJ Towse.

Former Lance Todd Trophy winner Richie Myler is undoubtedly the standout after his shock departure from Betfred Super League giants Leeds Rhinos, whilst Hull KR centre Jimmy Keinhorst and Will Dagger add plenty of experience across the back line.

Playmaker Nikau Williams, versatile back Alex Donaghy and forward Connor Bailey have made the move to the LNER Community Stadium in a triple swoop from Newcastle Thunder, whilst the Knights have also secured the services of talented young hooker Taylor Pemberton following his release from St Helens after a successful loan spell last term.

York Press: Richie Myler is a major coup for the Knights, with the former Leeds Rhinos talent able to play at both full-back and in the halves.Richie Myler is a major coup for the Knights, with the former Leeds Rhinos talent able to play at both full-back and in the halves. (Image: Martin Rickett/PA)

In Myler, Williams, Harris and Ata Hingano, the Knights now have four half-backs at their disposal, a luxury that has been ill-afforded in recent years.

But Harris is determined to fight for his place in Andrew Henderson’s starting 13.

“We’ve seen over the past couple of years that we have struggled for depth in the halves,” he conceded. "It’s not something that Championship clubs are really rich in.

“It’s an important position and you don’t have too many, but to have Ata, Richie and Nikau is four starting Championship half-backs in the majority of teams, I would say we’re pretty lucky to be in that position.

“Not only that, but if the worst came to worst, we have people that could slot in there - Jesse Dee did an outstanding job, Connor Bailey, who we’ve just signed from Newcastle, did a little bit in the halves, and Josh Daley.

“I’m not a stranger to trying to fight for my place. I’ve done that for most of my career, if not all of it.

“Thankfully, I think my determination and attitude gets me there, but I need to produce the standards that I have been to get me into this position.

“It’s exciting, and it will bring the best out of us all.”