International forward wants go to ‘next level’ in his career after arriving at new club

Drew Darbyshire
Brenden Santi Italy Rugby League World Cup News Images

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

York have announced the signing of Italy international forward Brenden Santi following his departure from fellow Championship club Keighley.

Last week, the 29-year-old was granted a release from his contract with Keighley after receiving an offer that would be ‘difficult for anyone to turn down’, said Cougars chief executive Ryan O’Neill in the press release at the time.

And now York have confirmed the signing of Italian stalwart Santi on a deal for the remainder of the season.

On linking up with York, Santi said: “I’m really excited to get going here at York.

“The club have spoken to me about their vision and it’s really exciting for me to be at a club with that clear purpose and drive.

“Personally, I want to go to the next level in my rugby league career and I know that I have that in me.

“I know that the younger players here at York are going to be able to push me and there’s some older heads that will be able to teach me a few things too.

“I’m really looking forward to coming in, working really hard and elevating my game.

“I have got a fair amount of experience and given that, hopefully I can lead from the front in a leadership role.

“I’m excited to be working with Hendo (Andrew Henderson) again. He had a big influence on the team during his time at Keighley and he was always someone that challenged me. I think he’s definitely the type of coach that I need to get the best out of myself.”

York Knights delighted to secure the services of Brenden Santi

Santi has represented Italy in the last three World Cups and has won 15 caps for the Azzurri to date.

The Sydney-born forward started his professional career in the NRL with Wests Tigers, playing 11 games between 2014-15.

Santi then spent a couple of years playing in the New South Wales Cup and Queensland Cup before moving over to the northern hemisphere in 2019 with French club Toulouse.

He had a short spell with Newcastle Thunder in 2020 before moving to Keighley in 2021, where he made 47 appearance, scoring 15 tries.

York coach Andrew Henderson said: “When I became aware that Brenden had been released by Keighley, I jumped at the chance to bring him to York.

“To bring in an established player at this level was really important to us. Brenden ticks the boxes in terms of who we’re looking to bring to the club from a character standpoint and in terms of his quality as a player too.

“I’m really pleased to have secured his services at a much-needed time for us”

“Brenden is an honest player who is not afraid to take the tough carries and works hard on and off the field. He will bring a degree of leadership too.

“He’s played in the NRL, in France with Toulouse and in three World Cups for Italy, playing alongside and against some quality players.

“I think he’ll add some real value to the team and challenge those middle-unit players around him to raise their standards and hopefully he can produce the form I know he is capable of to take the team forward.”

Santi is in line to make his York debut against Featherstone on Sunday, June 25 (3pm). He won’t be able to play in this weekend’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leigh due to being cup tied.

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