“WE’D be lying if we said that Super League wasn’t the goal. That’s where I want to be and that’s the next step on the journey.

“You can look at it how you want, but we are part of the cogs that get York to there.”

Those words are uttered by prop Ronan Michael less than a minute into the first episode of York RLFC’s new documentary series ‘We Are York’, which premiered on the club’s YouTube channel on Thursday evening.

Directed and produced by the award-winning Craig Bingham, the opening episode ‘The Charge Begins’ brings to the fore York Knights’ ambitions to reach the sport’s top flight for the first time in 155 years.

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2025 will mark a year of change for the rugby league competition structure, with clubs’ Super League membership determined by five key pillars of assessment – fandom, stadium, performance, finances and community.

In the provisional, purely illustrative, IMG gradings released at the end of the 2023 season, York have been ranked 17th out of the 35 clubs with a score of 10.05, receiving a Grade B.

Grade A clubs are guaranteed Super League status, and will be joined by the highest-ranking Grade B sides in the top-flight competition.

And as head coach Andrew Henderson, sat in the club’s dressing room, admits “the 2024 season, come the end of it, if you’re not in that top bracket of teams - whether it’ll be 12 or 14 we don’t know yet - if we’re not in that top tier, it could be the last opportunity for a number of years to get into the top flight.

“If we do come up just short, what does it look like then for him? [chairman Clint Goodchild] That’s the million dollar question.

“This is a Super League club in waiting, but when that is, I don’t know.”

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The documentary will follow both York Knights and York Valkyrie over the next 12 months, offering fans a glimpse into life behind the scenes of both clubs.

“The filming journey so far has been really insightful,” Bingham explained. “I’m an outsider to the sport of rugby league, so I’m coming into this with fresh eyes, which I think works to my advantage.

“I’m more interested in what happens off the pitch than on it - the personalities behind the players, their daily grind, what makes them tick, their fears, insecurities, doubts - all of it.

“With an unfolding narrative like this, the filming process is really instinctive; you have to let go of a rigid structure and just listen to what the individuals have to say, which then guides you to the next piece of the story. 

“I’ve found that always leads you to real authenticity.”

The series promises to offer fans a chance to find out more about both team's players away from rugby, with the first episode hinting that Michael, alongside Valkyrie trio Rhiannion Marshall, Sinead Peach and Tara Jane Stanley, will be among those to offer a glimpse into their lives off the pitch.

“When players hit the pitch, regardless of the team, they’re often seen as heroes or gladiators,” Bingham continued. “Yet, I’m intrigued by the characters behind that image.

“Everyone involved in the club, just like you and me, all face personal struggles, each on their own journey. 

“I’m aiming to capture an authentic look into what makes up the York Knights and the York Valkyrie, looking beyond the scoreboard.”