McRae backing troubled Aspinwall to impress at KC Stadium

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Hull FC director of rugby Shaun McRae believes Martin Aspinwall’s continued desire to prove doubters wrong will make the new signing a crucial acquisition.

The former Great Britain tourist became the club’s eighth capture for 2012 after being released by Castleford Tigers.

Aspinwall, who has switched from the three-quarters to back-row in the latter part of his career, spent two months in jail earlier this year for dangerous driving after crashing his car while being chased by police.

The ex-Huddersfield Giants player, who appeared in a Grand Final and Challenge Cup final with Wigan, returned to finish the season strongly but was not offered a new deal at Wheldon Road.

However, he has now signed a 12-month deal in East Yorkshire and McRae said: “We have a player in Martin that doesn’t just possess plenty of ability as a footballer but a character with a point to prove and someone who is keen to make the most of a fresh start and make an impression at a new club.

“He adds competition for places and extra depth in an area of the team we wanted to strengthen, as well as bringing a level of aggression and fierceness that we think will compliment the qualities of the players around him.”

Aspinwall, 30, said: “It’s very humbling and a privilege to be part of this club, with the tradition and the history they have got.

“It’s a massive club – the fan base, the facilities, the stadium – and now with a new regime in place that are desperate to take the club forward everything is positive and it’s something any player would want to be part of.”

Leeds Rhinos have hinted that Zak Hardaker will be their long-term successor for Keith Senior after the 20-year-old centre was handed the ex-Great Britain star’s number four jersey next season.

Senior is still deciding whether to continue on a pay-as-you-play deal in 2012 but Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has rewarded Hardaker for the prolific form he showed on the club’s remarkable run to Super League success.

Kallum Watkins has taken over the number three shirt from Brett Delaney, Paul McShane is given Danny Buderus’s old number nine shirt while youngsters Brad Singleton, Liam Hood and Stevie Ward have all been promoted to the senior squad.

“Whilst the number does not guarantee them anything for the new season, it is recognition for the hard work and dedication they have shown,” said McDermott.

“They have earned their new numbers based on last year’s performances.”