York City Knights have signed utility player Colton Roche from Huddersfield Giants.
The 24-year-old Irish international has joined the club on an initial one month loan and will go straight into the Knights squad to play Coventry at the weekend (weather permitting).
Leeds Rhinos Academy graduate Roche has spent most of his career in the top two divisions of rugby league, playing for the likes of Bradford Bulls and Sheffield Eagles and Featherstone Rovers.
Roche is known as a utility player, who can cover across the forward positions as a prop or in the second row and has also been known to play as as a centre.
The 6ft powerhouse represented Ireland at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, and was called up for the 2017 European Championships soon after that.
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Happy to be back
Roche returns to the club where he made 34 appearances under current head coach James Ford in 2014.
The Knights previously signed him from Featherstone Rovers – a club that took him straight back in 2016 after one of the most productive spells of his career with York.
He went on to make 42 appearances in the last two years for Rovers and Bradford Bulls, which drew the attention of Super League big hitters Huddersfield Giants.
After failing to make the Giants squad so far this term, a return to Bootham Crescent may be the best chance for Roche to show off his direct aggressive running that saw him shoot up the leagues once more.
Roche said he was delighted to be returning and feels the Knights are more than capable of achieving success this year:
It’s great for myself to get some quality playing time with a quality team.
I know the club well and it is an improved environment since the last time I played for the them.
I’m really pleased to be working with James Ford again, as he helped me get to the Super League. I will give my best efforts to help the team achieve all the success we are capable of.
Reward for support
James Ford is expecting Roche to add leadership to his squad.
Having worked with the player previously, Ford knows what the big man is all about, and believes he will add a defensive element that could prove vitally important for his team’s success this season.
The head coach thanked supporters for getting behind signings such as Roche.
Big crowds such as the 4,281 that turned out against Bradford Bulls on the opening day adds a significant amount funding to the Knights’ transfer kitty.
Speaking to the club’s website, Ford said:
“Colton is a powerful and direct runner who will bring some more intent to our defensive contact. I really enjoyed working with him previously and was impressed by his leadership.
“He is highly regarded at Huddersfield and we are very pleased to get him on board. He’s coming from a good environment and I’m sure he’ll help strengthen us on and off the field.
“I’d like to thank the Knights supporters for getting behind the club and facilitating signings like this.”