York loanee Ronan Michael is aiming to hit the ground running in 2022 so he can represent his native Ireland at this autumn’s World Cup.
The 21-year-old prop has joined ambitious Championship club York on a season-long loan from Super League outfit Huddersfield.
Balbriggan-born Michael made his first team debut for the Giants in 2020. He has already enjoyed loan spells at Whitehaven and Swinton.
He wants to make a big impact for the Knights in 2022 by helping them reach the play-offs; and competing for promotion into Super League.
On his loan to York, Michael told Love Rugby League: “I see it as a very good opportunity to play in the Championship every week with a competitive team in York.
“I thought if I’m not going to be playing with Huddersfield in Super League, then it would be a great opportunity for me to get game time ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year. Game time is the main thing I need at the minute.
“I’m still quite new to the game of rugby league. Playing games against men at a high standard with a competitive team is key for me to try and make the Ireland squad for the World Cup and move forward with my progression and play more Super League games.”
“I know the lads’ vision is to make the play-offs and compete for promotion”
“I feel like York are heading all the way to the play-offs. It is a big goal of ours to push forward to the play-offs. Initially, we are just looking to round one against Fev. The long-term goal is to make the play-offs and compete for promotion. I feel like every Championship team has that vision in mind.
“I’m really positive for this year and I know the lads’ vision is to make the play-offs and compete for promotion. That’s the direction we are heading in, pre-season has been good and we are ripping in so it is really exciting times.”
World Cup dream for proud Irishman Ronan Michael
Michael, who was born and raised in Ireland, has won five caps for the Wolfhounds since making his international debut in 2018.
The forward, who spent time with NRL side Canberra Raiders in 2020, was a latecomer to rugby league. He didn’t really know what rugby league was in the last World Cup in 2017 but is now hoping to play in the next one.
He said: “That’s a massive goal for me. I was quite gutted about it being postponed last year but I just see it as another opportunity to get another year under my belt; and hopefully make the 17 or squad.
“The goal is to actually play in the World Cup and not just be a part of the squad. The first step is to make the squad and then to make a spot in the team.
“It is a huge opportunity for me and a big end goal for me that I’ve been looking forward to. Hopefully I show them what I’m about. I want to prove to the coaches at Ireland that I get the chance to be a part of the World Cup squad.
“To think that at the end of this year it could be a huge opportunity for me to go from someone who didn’t really know what rugby league was at the time of the 2017 World Cup to actually playing in the next one… It has been a mad couple of years.”
Ireland have been drawn in a group with New Zealand, Lebanon and Jamaica for this year’s tournament.