York Knights confirm 17th squad member for 2024 as they tie down former NRL forward: ‘We’ve got unfinished business’

Ben Olawumi
Brenden Santi Italy Alamy

Brenden Santi in action for Italy at last year's World Cup - Alamy

York Knights have tied down prop Brenden Santi for the 2024 Championship season with a new one-year deal, with the veteran extending his stay at the LNER Community Stadium.

Italy international Santi – who has played in the last three World Cups – joined the Knights on a short-term deal back in June, and went on to score three tries in 14 appearances as they secured a 6th-place finish. Making it into the Championship play-offs, Andrew Henderson’s side fell at the first hurdle to Bradford Bulls.

Turning 30 in August, the former NRL ace had spent the best part of three years with Keighley Cougars beforehand, winning the League 1 title with them in 2022 as they went ‘invincible’, unbeaten for the entire campaign.

York Knights tie down former NRL forward: ‘We’ve got unfinished business’

The forward now pens a 12-month extension with York, and already has lofty ambitions for 2024, as he detailed in today’s contract announcement.

After a run of 10 wins in 11 to get into the top six this term, Santi told the Knights’ club website: “I’m really excited for 2024, and I’m delighted to have signed a new deal here with the club!

Since coming here from Keighley, it’s felt like home straightaway, coming into a group with a great bunch of lads. I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far, and we had some real momentum behind us at the back end of last season to reach the play-Offs.

“Everything that York is about is really exciting for me, and I think that we’ve got some unfinished business still following the play-offs. Hopefully we can go one step further in 2024!”

Santi becomes the Knights’ 17th confirmed squad member for 2024, sticking around alongside former Super League players including Ireland international Ronan Michael and Pauli Pauli.

Will Dagger and Jimmy Keinhorst have also been recruited from Wakefield Trinity and Hull KR respectively.

Knights chief Andrew Henderson hails Brenden Santi

Born in Bankstown, New South Wales, Santi adds a wealth of experience to the York pack having began his career down under over a decade ago. After stints in the youth setup at Canterbury Bulldogs, Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels, he would make a return to Wests and debut in Round 25 of the NRL in 2014 against Canberra Raiders.

11 appearances in total came his way before he reverted to playing in the Queensland Cup for the Townsville Blackhawks, eventually getting a break in the British game with Toulouse Olympique ahead of the 2019 campaign, making the move to the South of France.

The prop also featured briefly for Newcastle Thunder before heading to Keighley, and eventually York. The Italy international has 19 tries in 85 domestic club appearances in the British game so far.

York coach Henderson hailed him upon re-signing, adding: “I’m really pleased to have secured Brenden’s services for the 2024 season and being able to see him continue his journey with the York Knights.

“I did not hesitate in bringing Brenden in when he became available midway through last season, having worked with him before and knowing the type of person and player he is. Brenden acquitted himself really well after joining the club, added real value to our forward pack, and made a difference for us at the right time of the season.

“Brenden is another player that wants to be part of our journey and continue to help us grow as part of our Super League aspirations.”

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