LIAM Harris believes half-back partner Ata Hingano is playing some of the best rugby he ever has at York Knights this season.

The Tongan playmaker ran the show as the Knights’ resurgence under Mark Applegarth continued with a potentially season-defining 34-24 victory at Featherstone Rovers on Sunday - their first league win at the West Yorkshire club since 1957.

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A converted Jack Teanby try was all the visitors had to show for their first-half endeavours at the Millennium Stadium, with Brad Day, Caleb Aekins and Paul Turner all finding the whitewash before debutant Dec Patton’s penalty handed Featherstone an 18-6 half-time advantage.

But the Knights came out with a fire under them after the break to earn a memorable victory that leaves them knocking on the door of the play-offs.

Joe Brown collected Harris’ cut-out pass to resume the scoring four minutes after the restart, with Hingano then setting up both Josh Daley and Ukuma Ta’ai to crash over from close range within minutes of each other.

Though Turner brought Featherstone onto level terms, the Knights' half-back soon took the initiative with a game-changing 40/20 before weaving his way past a handful of defenders to put York back in front.

And there was still time for captain Harris to add gloss to the scoreline with a long-range effort late on.

2024 has seen Hingano transition from a ball-playing loose forward back into the halves - where he has been their only recognised player in the position for much of the season amid Harris’ shoulder injury.

But the Knights’ skipper could not be happier to be playing back alongside him.

“I’ve got to credit Ata Hingano,” he enthused. “He was absolutely outstanding.

“He’s playing some of the best rugby I’ve seen him play, and I’m really proud of him.

“He’s been playing consistently, which is something he’s struggled to do, and he’s been absolutely our best player, and the lads ride the back of that wave.

“That 40/20, then the try, really lifted our spirits, and the middles worked really hard in the heat, and they got their just reward with Ukuma Ta’ai scoring and Teanby.”

Hingano nailed a 40/20 before weaving past a handful of Featherstone defenders to score.Hingano nailed a 40/20 before weaving past a handful of Featherstone defenders to score. (Image: Craig Hawkhead Photography)  

Hingano’s 40/20 with 10 minutes remaining proved pivotal for the Knights, switching the momentum in their favour after Featherstone had hit back against the run of play.

And Harris admits pulling off such a move that late in the game is deceptively difficult.

“I think it looks pretty simple when you’re looking - and I’ve watched games and you think it’s pretty simple - but to execute it is a completely different thing,” he explained.

“It was under pressure, we were stuck in our own half and I think it was an absolutely game-changing and really smart play executed to perfection.”