Cooke joins Hunslet

Hunslet have signed centre Will Cooke from the defunct Oxford club.

The 20-year-old is a product of the Castleford Tigers Academy and joined Oxford ahead of the 2016 season.

He had a spell with Harrogate towards the end of the 2016 campaign but has returned to the 13-man code.

And Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton put faith in Cooke and gave him the opportunity to return to semi-professional Rugby League in League 1.

Thornton admitted that he is happy to have him at the South Leeds Stadium.

He 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-rower, and provides more competition for places. I’m sure he will be backing himself and will push the more experienced players all the way in pre-season.

“He had offers from other League 1 clubs, but being a very confident young man, he chose Hunslet, despite us having a strong squad.”

And the promising youngster is grateful for the opportunity at the club.

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

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

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

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