ONE of the worst-kept secrets in local rugby league circles has finally been confirmed – that former Super League winger Waine Pryce is coming to York City Knights.

Rumours about Hunslet flier Pryce’s imminent arrival at Huntington Stadium have abounded for some time, although they were thrown into confusion on Thursday following the departure of Dave Woods and a comment written on Twitter by the former Castleford wideman.

Pryce, who scored 30 tries in 28 appearances for Woods’ National League One-winning Cas side in 2005, tweeted: “If what I’ve just heard is correct!

“My mind set for the future might just take a u-turn.”

But The Press can confirm that new player-boss Chris Thorman has already spoken to him about the new regime at Huntington Stadium, and the 29-year-old, having signed his deal, will be a Knights player next year.

Going the other way, though, is Steve Lewis, who had been the longest-serving player on York’s books having arrived at the club four years ago but has now agreed terms with Championship arch-rivals the Hawks.

Pryce, who turns 30 on Monday, came through the Cas youth system and made his first-team debut in 2000, going on to score 80 tries, 50 of them in Super League, in 140 games for the Tigers, and also making making five appearances for England ‘A’ in 2002/3.

He badly broke a leg in 2006, the year Cas were relegated, and he moved to Wakefield in 2007 but did not claim a regular spot, bagging five tries in 13 matches.

He later joined Featherstone, scoring 24 tries in 47 appearances in a two-year spell before signing for Hunslet two years ago and helping Paul March’s men to the Championship One title in 2010, scoring 21 tries in 20 games, as well as consolidation this year, with another 11 tries in 23 games.

The Hawks actually beat York to his signature that time, but the Knights now have their man.

Said former Super League half-back Thorman: “I’ve played against Waine a few times when he was with Castleford, before he had that horrendous injury which effectively ended his Super League career. But his record speaks for itself.

“He is outstanding in the back field and he knows where the try-line is.”

Pryce comes from strong rugby league stock with good Minster city links – cousins Leon and Karl Pryce are both top-tier stars, while their dad, Dennis, played for York. Dennis’ cousins, Steve and Geoff, also both played for York.

Steve, who now runs the Cornerhouse pub in Burton Stone Lane, is Heworth ARLC’s coach. Steve is also Jamaica RL assistant-coach, and Waine plays for that national team.

Thorman added: “He will bring experience as well. It’s going to be easy to coach people like him and he’s going to be great working with some of our younger backs like James Haynes and Dave Sutton.”

Pryce follows Adam Sullivan in making the switch from Hunslet to York, and more are thought to be on the way, with Sullivan’s fellow prop, James Houston, as revealed by The Press 11 days ago, tipped to make the move.

Lewis, meanwhile, was not offered a new deal by the Knights. He spent four seasons at York having been signed by Paul March from Wakefield’s academy, starting off as a threequarter but moving into the back row in later seasons.

He was a regular in his first season, 2008, scoring 12 tries in 27 appearances, but injuries hampered his next two campaigns in which he played 23 games, scoring five tries, the most memorable of which was the last touchdown in the Grand Final triumph over Oldham. Last season he made 19 appearances, 12 as substitute, scoring four tries.