Hunslet sign former Castleford Tigers academy player Cooke

Will Cooke.
Will Cooke.
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HUNSLET HAVE signed former Castleford Tigers academy and Oxford centre/back-rower Will Cooke.

The 20-year-old is Hunslet’s 11th recruit for the 2018 campaign and has been recommended to them by his previous club, according to coach Gary Thornton.

Cooke said: “I would really like to thank Gary and the rest of the club for giving me the opportunity to sign for such an historic club.

“I feel there is a really strong team being put together for this year and there’s a great feeling among all the boys, which I’m excited to be part of and hopefully add something to.

“I am really looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season and for the season to come around. Hopefully the boys meet the expectations the club has set for the year and do all the fans and club proud.”

Cooke had two spells in Tigers’ academy either side of a stint at Huddersfield Giants.

He scored four tries and one goal in 14 appearances for Oxford last year – including a 24-22 win over Hunslet in May – and has also played rugby union for Harrogate.

Thornton said: “Will joins us looking for an opportunity to cement a place in the team.

“He has a good rugby league pedigree and came through the Castleford Tigers academy.

“Like many players leaving academy football he was looking to progress his career at first team level and spent a period of time at Oxford last season, where ex-coach Tim Rumford recommended him to me following some really good performances for them.

“He is a big powerful centre or back-row and provides more competition for places.

“He had offers from other League One clubs, but being a very confident young man he chose Hunslet despite us having built up a strong squad.

“I’m sure he will be backing himself and will push the more experienced players all the way in pre-season.”

Cooke joins fellow signings David Foggin-Johnston, Danny Grimshaw, Cain Southernwood, Duane Straugheir, Brad Foster, Ryan Mallinder, Harry Tyson-Wilson, Tom Ashton, Jordan Gill and Sam Crowther in Hunslet’s squad for 2018.

At least two more players are set to join the club before the season begins.

Hunslet will hold a season launch night in the Phoenix Bar at South Leeds Stadium on Friday, December 15 (7.30pm).