YORK Knights' newly-announced affiliation with Newcastle Thunder is a ‘win all round for everybody’, according to Head Coach Andrew Henderson.

The Knights announced on social media on Tuesday afternoon that Henderson’s side would be partnering with Betfred League One outfit Newcastle, who have struggled since a troubled off-season that almost saw the club cease to exist.

Henderson confirmed to the Press that the partnership would provide York with the opportunity to send their younger players to Newcastle, with the Head Coach keen to see his entire squad gain valuable minutes on the pitch.

Henderson told the Press: “It’s a win all round for everybody!

“We’ve got a deeper squad than last season so we have a number of players there that won’t be playing, so we felt that it was really important as we don’t have a reserve grade side.

“We felt it was really important that we try and find a club that was willing to partner with us, in order to be able to facilitate more opportunities for our players to play games.

“Especially our younger players, for me it is about our younger players getting game time, because if you look at the last few years they have had a couple of years with the covid years when they didn’t play any rugby league and they have missed that development window.

“They have then come back in playing academy at reserve grade Super League clubs and not playing regularly there, those games are once every three weeks.

“It almost questions the current standing of the reserve gradings position and how many clubs are really investing in that as a competition and in terms of the quality of personnel. One game every three weeks, you’re not getting that consistency or continuity.

“We just felt that for us, partnering with a League One club would be of the most benefit.

“It’s turned out that Newcastle probably need a bit of help and support, logistically it works for us because they are our closest club and I’m looking forward to building a really strong partnership with Newcastle.

“They key thing for me is providing playing opportunities for our players consistently, and we will be able to get that with Newcastle playing in a League One standard, which is a decent standard.

“There are some good teams and some good players in that division, which again for me presents a good challenge for some of our younger players on that development journey.”

Newcastle Head Coach Chris Thorman is equally as pleased with the partnership, having previously made 60 appearances for the Knights between 2010 to 2012.

“I have got know Hendo and Clint (Goodchild, Chairman) well since the start of the year and they understood our need for help in assembling a squad that will be competitive every week in Betfred League One,” Thorman explained.

“This agreement will hopefully contribute to enabling that, as well as allowing York players who are not playing on a regular basis the opportunity to maintain game time on a regular basis in what will be a highly competitive Betfred League One competition.

“York have great depth to their squad this year, so I’m really pleased with the agreement.”