New loan signing Jon Luke Kirby enjoying life at Hunslet

Jon Luke Kirby in action for Hunslet: Picture: Paul Johnson - Phoenix Photography.Jon Luke Kirby in action for Hunslet: Picture: Paul Johnson - Phoenix Photography.
Jon Luke Kirby in action for Hunslet: Picture: Paul Johnson - Phoenix Photography.
HUNSLET ACHIEVED a coup by bringing in highly-rated youngster Jon Luke Kirby on loan from Huddersfield Giants – and he reckons both himself and club will benefit from the arrangement.

The former Giants academy captain, who signed a two-year full-time contract in 2018, made his Hunslet debut in last weekend’s Coral Challenge Cup win over amateurs West Bowling.

“I enjoyed it,” Kirby said. “It was my first game in about six weeks. I hadn’t played since the pre-season warm-up games, so it was a nice opportunity for me. I got some minutes under my belt and I felt good. I played the full second half, maybe 50 minutes in total, so I was really pleased with that.”

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The loan will allow Kirby to gain game time while also boosting Hunslet’s hopes of pushing for promotion from Betfred League One.

Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.
Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.

“It is a month’s loan with an option to extend,” the forward confirmed. “We’ll see how it goes this first month. Hopefully I can get some more game time and we’ll take it from there.”

At 20 Kirby is now too old to play academy rugby so a loan move was his best chance of gaining regular time on the field.

“It is my first year full-time so I just need to get some experience so I can compete with the big boys,” he said.

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“I am looking forward to it. The boys are a great set of lads and there’s some talented players in there.

“The quality is a lot higher than people may think. I have been impressed and I am looking forward to playing at a good standard.”

Hunslet have won both their opening league fixtures and are top of the table, despite having a game in hand on most of their rivals.

Kirby will continue to train with Huddersfield, joining Hunslet on evenings and match days.

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“The aim is to get some experience, there’s some good players in this league,” he said. “It is a big step up from academy, physicality-wise, because you’re playing against blokes.

“There’s some big, mature lads at this level.”

Of Hunslet, Kirby said: “We’ve had a great start and we want to carry that on and push on.

“It’s a good squad here and some great lads. I’ve felt welcome and I’m looking forward to cracking on with them.”