YORK Knights head coach Andrew Henderson lauded new signings Will Dagger and Connor Bailey after their impressive debuts in Saturday’s record-breaking 114-10 rout of Newcastle Thunder.

Full-back Dagger contributed a team-high 28 points to the scoreboard, courtesy of a hat-trick of tries and eight conversions, whilst Bailey found the whitewash four times against his former club.

Whilst the clinical performance leaves the Knights with a plus-104 points difference in their bid to make it out of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup group stages, recently-relegated Wakefield Trinity will prove a far tougher test at the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

“I thought that Will Dagger did a great job for us,” Henderson enthused of the 24-year-old, who was at the heart of much of his side’s attacking play.

“I thought that his support play was outstanding and he finished off his three tries wonderfully well. He didn’t have a bad day with the boot either for us - I thought that his goal-kicking was pretty good.

“Connor Bailey, I thought again, that he was impressive there on that right edge in the back row.

“He moved and had a spell in the centres for us at one point, but I thought that he was solid. He carried well, looked strong, and defensively he was tidy, so I was impressed with him.”


Youngster Harvey Reynolds, perhaps a surprising inclusion to the squad, crossed the whitewash on his professional debut after his off-season move from Hull KR, whilst former Grand Final winner Jimmy Keinhorst also turned out for the Knights for the first time since 2020, though was withdrawn at half time as a precaution.

“I just pulled him [Keinhorst] off at half time,” Henderson explained. “We got him through to half time, but it’s one of those of risk and reward, isn’t it - do you risk it?

“We were already up 46-6 at half time, it was like ‘do we need to risk causing an injury potentially in the second half?’

“We just made that decision to pull him and look after the old boy.”