Bennion joins Rochdale

Rochdale Hornets have signed prop-forward Gavin Bennion from Halifax.

The 22-year old has worked under Alan Kilshaw at both Warrington Wolves and in Australia with Mackay Cutters, which was a factor in his decision to join the club.

He is excited about the upcoming season and feels he brought a lot of experience back from his time down under which made him a better player.

“I’m really excited, obviously I know Alan Kilshaw from coaching me in Australia and at Warrington Wolves beforehand so that was a factor in me signing,” admitted Bennion.

“I’m excited to get started, they train at Warrington’s facilities and I know what they are like from my time there.

“The fact that they have just been promoted and beaten Toulouse, who beat Leigh Centurions this year, is really good and I am glad they went up.

“No disrespect to League One teams but the Championship is a much better competition.

“When Warrington let me go I took the opportunity to go out to Australia, which Alan gave me, and I did a pre-season with Mackay Cutters in the Queensland Cup.

“They signed me in the end, it is a tough league over there but I feel like it definitely helped me progress as a player to come back and play in the Championship.”

With 20 appearances under his belt in 2016 for Halifax, the last of which came in their Championship Shield semi-final loss to Sheffield Eagles, he has experience in the division.

The former Warrington junior admitted that it was hard to take when his home town club let him go and playing for the Wolves will always be an ambition for him.

“It was tough. Warrington is my home town and I’ve always wanted to play in front of a big crowd at the Halliwell Jones, and I think I always will.

“You never know what the future holds. It was hard at the time but I realised that there are other teams out there.”

During his time with Super League outfit Warrington he also spent some time on dual-registration with Swinton Lions, who were their partner club at the time.

The front=rower, who can also operate in the second-row, joins Jakes Eccleston and Miles Greenwood in making the move from The Shay.

His good relationship with those two players helped with his decision to make the move to the Crown Oil Arena and he was impressed by the quality of players who the Hornets have signed.

“I’ve travelled up to Halifax with Jake all year so I am good mates with him and Miles as well, so I know them two well,” Bennion said.

“It definitely helped that I know people on the team and there are some good players signing too.”

It will be a difficult season for the club with a lot of strong teams competing in the second tier next year, but he is confident they can compete and is excited to get started once he has enjoyed his time off.

“I definitely think we are capable of staying up,” Bennion continued.

“It will be tough with Hull KR being relegated and there are some strong teams in Batley, Featherstone and Bradford. We will be there to compete and not just to make up numbers.

“I’ve got about a month off now to relax and enjoy it, but when the time comes I’ll be looking forward to getting started and meeting the lads.”

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