York prospering from dual-registration system with Hull FC

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Obviously, a lot of the talk in the Championship at the moment is the on-going dual-registration debate.

There are clearly plenty of pros and cons to it.

I do think it improves the quality of the division in terms of the players appearing in it but there is the worry some clubs might lose their own identity; Hunslet Hawks should be Hunslet Hawks, for example, rather than a Super League reserve team.

I think dual-reg should solely be for younger players and those developing their careers at Super League clubs. That has to be the aim.

Yet you can still see how it might upset some players at Championship clubs who lose their own spot to a dual-reg top-flight player.

However, at my club York City Knights, I can honestly say that’s not been an issue here.

We have had quite a few Hull FC players down so far this season but all the York lads have embraced it and team spirit is great.

The Hull lads have trained with us quite frequently rather than maybe just once, which does happen sometimes elsewhere, or even just turning up on match days. The fact they practise regularly with us helps build a relationship and that’s certainly what’s happening between York and Hull.

It was unexpected, though, seeing Joe Arundel coming down. He’s a good player who, despite still being young, has played a lot of Super League and with England Knights.

He featured in the centre down my side for one of those games at Knights and it was a good experience for me. I certainly learned plenty of stuff off him that day.

On a personal level, it’s great to be back playing with York again.

I left after the 2011 campaign to go spend last year in Australia with a club called Fremantle Roosters.

It was brilliant to experience another style of football and another lifestyle as well.

It was probably about the standard of Championship One here and we made our Grand Final, although we unfortunately lost.

I was also selected to represent the Western Australian state, though, which would be similar to our Championship and, overall, it was a great seven months.

I’m training to be a social worker and I combined my rugby with a job over there which saw me working with young people who had just got out of young offenders institutes, supporting them as they try to get back on track.

It was a great experience. I’ve always wanted to get out to Australia and I’m glad I did it. It’s so vast though. I’d love to go back and visit all down the eastern side of the country too but I’m too much of a ‘home boy’ from Castleford to ever leave for good.

I always wanted to come back to York and, when I was in Australia, I kept an eye on their results.

We’ve been competitive in all our games this season apart from Batley when we had a lot of adversity. We competed against Halifax and champions Sheffield too for large parts so the signs are quite promising but the next couple of games will give us a better indication as we’re playing sides around us.

It’s Workington on Sunday. They haven’t got a Super League link-up but when you look at their side, if you didn’t know that, you would wonder ‘who are they partnered with?’ They have got so much experience in there with people like Ewan Dowes, Jamie Thackray, Mark Calderwood and Peter Lupton.

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