“I THINK everyone’s goal is to make the Play-offs, but for us, we want to be pushing up above that.” 

So says York Knights’ Oli Field as he prepares to embark upon his first full season in the Betfred Championship. 

First linking up with Andrew Henderson’s side on loan from Betfred Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos in March, the 21-year-old forward made his move to the city permanent just two months later. 

Field played every game thereafter for the Knights as a remarkable run of 10 wins from their last 11 regular season matches saw them claim a Play-off place in dramatic fashion with victory at Barrow Raiders on the final day of the season.

2024 brings with it 10 fresh faces and a new captain in half-back Liam Harris, and Field is not alone in feeling as though simply reaching the Play-offs is not an option given the quality in their squad.

“Liam said when he became captain, that it shouldn’t just be a goal to make the Play-offs, we should be trying to push beyond that,” Field told The Press of his ambitions for next season. 

“From a personal goal, I just want to be playing as much as I can, and I want to build on the year that I had last year. 

“But if I’m playing well and the team’s playing well, then we can be pushing into that top four, and even top three, territory.”   

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The Knights have recruited well under Henderson and chairman Clint Goodchild ahead of the new campaign, for which they have retained 20 of last term’s squad.

Utility back Richie Myler is undoubtedly their marquee signing after his shock exit from the Rhinos, whilst German international Jimmy Keinhorst and Wakefield Trinity’s Will Dagger add considerable top-flight experience to an otherwise youthful squad.

Nikau Williams, Alex Donaghy and Connor Bailey have also arrived in a triple swoop from troubled Newcastle Thunder, whilst hooker Taylor Pemberton has joined Field in making the permanent move to York after a successful loan from Super League heavyweights St Helens.

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“I think that they’ve all settled in great, Field enthused.

“Richie and Jimmy, they’ve both been around for years and played lots of Super League games. They’ve got plenty of experience in rugby league, and so has Will Dagger as well. 

“For that kind of talent and players with that kind of experience to want to come to York, that says a lot. 

“I’m going to be trying to learn a lot from both of them really. Richie has played with some of the best back-rowers in the game, and in the country.

“For me to learn and pick things up from him, it’s going to be valuable for my career and the rest of this year as well.”

York Press: Field believes that he can learn a lot from new assistant coach Paul Cooke.Field believes that he can learn a lot from new assistant coach Paul Cooke. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Field admits that the full-throttle nature of the season’s conclusion left him needing time away, which he spent with his girlfriend on a two-week holiday to Thailand.

Since returning, he has been working hard to ensure that he is in a good condition throughout the rest of pre-season, and is relishing the tutelage of new assistant coach Paul Cooke and his outside-of-the-box thinking.

“Cookey, he’s a really smart player,” he explained. “He’s been around a lot and he’s got loads of experience.

“He’s definitely going to have a key part in our attacking structure this year, and he’s going to be really good for me as a back-rower.

“He’s played on an edge for all of his career, and he knows what he wants from the back-rowers and what the halves want from the back-rowers.

“With Cookey and Richie working with me, hopefully I can’t go far wrong. But I’m just going to keep learning and taking in bits from them.”