Huddersfield forward makes York move on season-long loan

Photo courtesy of Mark Millward

Huddersfield prop Ronan Michael has joined Championship side York City Knights on a season-long loan.

Michael, 21, made his Huddersfield debut back in 2020 and spent time with Swinton and Whitehaven in 2021.

He said: “To be honest, I played at York twice last year when I was on loan at Swinton and we faced a very good side but, more than that, the atmosphere from the fans was outstanding. They don’t stop chanting for the whole eighty minutes.

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“The facility at the stadium, as well, is absolutely outstanding and they’re clearly a very good side. As Fordy has said to me, we’re looking to push even further this year and try to make it all the way up.

“It’s a very competitive side and I’m really looking forward to getting amongst it, getting around the lads and I’m really keen to rip in with a good Championship side in a competitive competition.

“Aidan (McGowan) is one of my best mates and when he came to visit me in Ireland he was telling me all about his time at York. When I got the opportunity to come to York, I was over the moon. Aidan has been telling me all the great things about the club, from the facilities, the setup and how professional it is for a Championship club.”

Ireland international Michael signed for the Giants in 2019 and spent some time with Canberra Raiders.

The Balbriggan-born forward played against York for Swinton in the 1895 Cup semi-final last season.

Coach James Ford said: “I’m pleased to strengthen our middle options with Ronan. He’s a hard-working and tough player that’s keen to add little bits to his game here and there.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him and helping him fulfil his potential.”

World Cup dream

A motivating factor for Michael throughout 2021 will no doubt be a possible World Cup spot with his national team.

“That’s another thing and a massive goal for me. With the World Cup pushed back a year, it’s another opportunity for me to get as many games as possible against grown men under my belt.

“It’s a huge, huge year for me to perform to my best to hopefully be picked to represent Ireland at the end of the year in the World Cup.

“It’s a really important year for me and I feel like there will be no better place than York for me to develop my game, really rip in and get some minutes playing against grown men.

Michael was a relative late-comer to the sport of rugby league in his native Ireland, revealing that he only picked up the sport four years ago.

“I only started playing rugby league in 2017. I wanted to play union, make it as a pro in that, and I took a year out as I wanted to change amateur club.

“The year out was tough for me because I wanted to play rugby, to have physical contact. I was playing games of football and hurling, going to the gym but nothing was doing it for me.

“Then I came across rugby league. I went to a training session and asked what the name of the amateur team was. They laughed at me and said ‘you’re not playing for an amateur team, you’re playing for Ireland under-17s!’

“I was straight in the mix of it and we played a few games against Wales and then a few in-house games after that.

“The following year, in 2018, I got offered a trial with Huddersfield’s academy and it snowballed from there, really. A few doors opened for me and I took those opportunities with both hands and ran with them.

“That year I made my senior debut for Ireland and one thing led to another.”

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