“THESE kids need to be playing.”

That is the message from York Knights head coach Andrew Henderson as the club begin to exercise their dual registration partnership with Newcastle Thunder in their Betfred League One season.

Former York Acorn youngster Harry Price and half-back Jack Potter joined the Knights’ dual registration partners on permanent deals last month, with full-back Alex Donaghy also returning to the club for whom he swapped for York last year on a season-long loan.

Winger Brad Ward and hooker Taylor Pemberton - who made the permanent move to the Knights after a successful spell on loan from St Helens - have also both featured for Chris Thorman’s side over recent weeks.


Thunder nudged in front against Workington Town last weekend, but could not hold onto their 18-12 half-time lead as they fell to an eventual 48-18 defeat.

Newcastle’s first try was made in York, with Potter finding the onrushing Donaghy, whose delightful cut-out pass sent Ward across into the right corner.

And the full-back was across for his own try shortly after, racing from 30 metres to score just to the left of the posts.

York Press: Full-back Alex Donaghy scored one and assisted another for the Thunder last weekend.Full-back Alex Donaghy scored one and assisted another for the Thunder last weekend. (Image: Allan McKenzie/SWPix.com)

Despite the Thunder having lost all three of their league fixtures so far this season, Henderson believes the game time that the Knights’ youngsters are receiving will prove valuable.

He explained: “The reality is, for a lot of those younger players, it was important that they were with us to get a really good pre-season behind them - to get that attention to detail and work with better players to improve them and their development.

“But ultimately, what we don’t want is for them to be sat there for the next 10, 12 or 15 weeks without playing.

“There was an opportunity there to build a partnership with Newcastle and even though we’ve effectively released some players, because we’ve got the dual registration agreement in place, we can dual register players back from Newcastle to us. It works both ways.

“There is that opportunity there for some of those younger guys over the course of the season, we can bring them back.

“We are still very much in contact with those players - they get to come in and see us, they get their reviews and stuff - so they are getting a good level of service from both clubs.

“But the main thing is that they have to be playing. These kids need to be playing.

“Too many of them have missed games through the COVID period, they’ve missed two years of development there, then they’re coming back into the academy or reserve system and playing one game every two or three weeks and some are getting called off.

“It hasn’t been the structure of competition that they or anyone would have hoped for.

“We can’t afford these young players not getting games."