Mark Applegarth named new York Knights coach as Andrew Henderson changes role

Aaron Bower
Mark Applegarth Wakefield Trinity SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Mark Applegarth is back in rugby league as the new head coach of Championship side York Knights following a restructure of the club that has seen Andrew Henderson move into a new role.

Applegarth has been out of work since leaving Wakefield Trinity at the end of last season, but has now returned to the game with another of his former clubs, having spent three seasons with the Knights during his playing career.

He has been appointed as part of a major overhaul of York’s off-field setup, which has seen existing head coach Henderson become York’s new head of rugby operations and development.

“I am excited to announce the appointment of Mark Applegarth as head coach of the York Knights,” the club’s chairman, Clint Goodchild, said.

“With the support and guidance of Andrew, Mark will be taking the reins of the team this week to maximise the available time with staff and players during the Challenge Cup break. Mark has shown he can develop young players, can motivate teams, is hungry for success, has shown grit and determination and, importantly, is a former York player with over 100 appearances.

“There will be more information and interviews to come in the coming days, but the priority right now is to have a successful transition period for both Andrew & Mark to allow the players and staff to focus on the job at hand – facing the Dewsbury Rams on Sunday, June 16th.”

Goodchild has also revealed that Henderson will now oversee all rugby operations at York as they plan to introduce a brand-new academy in 2026.

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He said: “Having identified the need for a Head of Rugby Operations & Development these past few months, the challenge then became who can fill such an important role.

“It was a shortlist that led me to internal discussions with Knights head coach Andrew Henderson and club general manager, Neil Gulliver, where the only obvious candidate was Andrew Henderson himself.

“His first-hand experience in developing player pathways at all levels, his knowledge of the challenges that come with coaching in a part-time environment and the experience of being in a successful full-time system are exceptional. I have no doubt Andrew is the right man to build a system that will feed talent into the club via a successful Academy for generations to come.

“While we feel a Head of Rugby Operations role is necessary, we are also committed to launching an RFL licensed Academy in 2026. To achieve this, we will need to start taking immediate action to build proven pathway systems and strengthen community relationships to attract the best of York’s future homegrown stars.

“While we have consciously looked to recruit and develop players from York through the Excel programme, Foundation community action sessions and recruiting “York Kids” from other clubs, it is now time to take serious steps to build the bridge to ensure the home-grown talent comes into the York RLFC Academy.”

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