Halifax Panthers sign former Super League back as ex-Toronto Wolfpack ace departs the club

Drew Darbyshire
Ben Crooks Hull KR News Images Halifax Panthers

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

Halifax Panthers have signed experienced outside-back Ben Crooks from fellow Championship neighbours Keighley Cougars for the rest of the season.

The 30-year-old joined Keighley ahead of this season after five seasons with Hull KR in Super League, making eight appearances for the Cougars.

With more than 200 career appearances under his belt for Hull, Castleford, Leigh, Hull KR and Keighley, Crooks will bring a wealth of experience to the Panthers.

On joining Halifax, Crooks said: “I’m really happy with the news, I’m excited to be joining what’s already a quality squad and set up at Halifax.

“With my years in the game, I’d like to think I bring some added experience to the squad. The Shay is a fantastic ground and a brilliant set up, so to call this my home ground going forward, I’m really pleased.

“The Fax fans have always been loud and proud when I’ve played as an opposition player so to have them on my side during a game will be a great boost when playing.

“I’m just looking to play my best, and contribute where ever I can and hopefully help the squad to some silverware this year.”

Halifax Panthers release Nick Rawsthorne

Halifax have released outside-back Nick Rawsthorne from his contract by mutual consent so he can take up an opportunity elsewhere.

The 27-year-old came out of retirement to re-join his hometown club Halifax at the start of the season but will leave The Shay without registering a first team appearance this season. He has played one game for League 1 side Rochdale on loan this year.

Rawsthorne featured for Hull FC and Hull KR in Super League in previous years but his most impressive spell came for Toronto Wolfpack, scoring 27 tries in 34 games for the Canadian club between 2018-19.

On his release, Halifax coach Simon Grix explained: “Obviously, Nick had a year out of the game and in that year off, blokes like (Lachlan) Walmsley, (Zack) McComb and (James) Saltonstall have all progressed. (Ben) Tibbs can be included in that as well.

“Nick wanted to come back, Halifax was a good fit for him as it’s where he lives and a good fit for us as we know him.

“He’s a decent trainer and just a generally good bloke on the whole so we were happy to give him an opportunity but obviously, with those players in front of him going well has hindered his chances.

“And also, the fact that as a collective we haven’t been going as well as we’d like. That’s probably lead to me putting my trust and faith in people that are doing their job.

“Had we have been smashing everyone by 60, that’s when it’s easier to go and swap and change.

“Nick needs to play to get back in a rhythm and he’s not been able to do that for the reasons mentioned. I think this presents a good opportunity for him to go and get his mojo back, if you like and just play consecutive games.

“He’s got an opportunity which will be revealed in due course to go and play his rugby and get back enjoying it.

“We’ll certainly be cheering him on and hoping it goes well for him because he’s not done anything wrong.

“He’s done everything that’s been asked of him, just unfortunate that he’s got a bit in front of him and we are where we are.”

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