Hull FC land Super League Grand Final winner: Forward ‘can’t wait’ to play under new boss Tony Smith

Ben Olawumi
Jack Ashworth

Jack Ashworth (front) in action for Huddersfield - Alamy

Hull FC have bolstered their pack ahead of 2024 with the addition of forward Jack Ashworth on a two-year deal, signing on the dotted line following his departure  from Huddersfield Giants.

The front-rower – a Grand Final winner in 2019 with St Helens – becomes FC’s sixth new signing ahead of the new season and their second of the week following the announcement of Leeds Rhinos ace Liam Tindall.

Jayden Okunbor, Jack Walker, Herman Ese’ese and Franklin Pele have also put pen to paper at the MKM Stadium as head coach Tony Smith looks to improve on a lacklustre 10th-placed finish this term.

Rochdale-born Ashworth will link up with NRL recruits Ese’ese and Pele in the forward pack for the Black and Whites in 2024, and says he’s relishing the opportunity to work under veteran boss Smith.

Hull FC capture Super League Grand Final winner Jack Ashworth

Having penned his deal running until the end of 2025, the new signing told Hull’s club website: “I’m absolutely buzzing for the opportunity to join such a big club, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in now.

“Obviously, it’s a massive opportunity for me. The ball is in my court and it’s up to me to work hard and show what I can do, but I’m determined to work so hard for it.

“Tony is putting together a fairly hefty pack for 2024 and I’m pleased to be a part of it. When it comes to size, I feel like I contribute towards that. I won’t back down from anything and I’ll do anything the coach asks of me.

“If he wants me to add a little bit of speed and a little bit of agility, I also feel that I’m able to add those components to the pack too. I’ve also got the ability to play out on the edge or in the middle, so I’m willing to put my hand up to do a job for the team when needed.

“I can’t wait to work under Tony. All of the players I know that have played under him have had nothing but good things to say about the way he operates. He’s just got a way of getting the best out of players. It’s a big part of one of the reasons why I wanted to join Hull FC.

“To be a good coach these days, you have to have good man management skills. What really stood out to me when we had a chat was how he mentioned that it’s always family first, rugby second, so that was really nice to hear and I’m buzzing to be a part of his squad for next season.”

Tony Smith on new signing: ‘He’s determined to grasp this opportunity with both hands’

An England Knights international, Ashworth came through the ranks with Saints, loaned out to Rochdale Hornets, Sheffield Eagles and Leigh in his time at the club, before appearing in that 2019 Grand Final triumph over Salford as an interchange.

Joining Huddersfield ahead of 2021, he had further loan spells with Leigh, Halifax Panthers and Featherstone Rovers, leaving West Yorkshire with 28 Giants appearances to his name.

Delighted to add him to their squad for 2024, new boss Smith added: “Whilst he is another big body for our pack for 2024, he is actually very skilful too. Jack did actually used to play half-back, but he’s a big man now and he’s much more accustomed to playing in the pack.

“He gives us an option through the middle and in the back row, which is good for us, and he’s determined to grasp this opportunity with both hands. I’m looking forward to him joining our pack, where he will add both size and skill, he will be a useful addition for us.”

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