York Knights have confirmed the signing of Will Dagger from relegated Wakefield Trinity on a three-year deal, as tipped to do so by Love Rugby League last month.
Castleford-born Dagger makes the move across Yorkshire having made 17 appearances for Wakefield, scoring two tries and 29 goals after linking up with them midway through 2023. He also kicked the winning one-pointer for Trinity in their victory against Grand Finalists Wigan Warriors.
The full-back – who has featured more than 50 times in Super League – already has four York appearances to his name, made in 2018 on dual registration from parent club Hull KR.
Having also appeared on loan in the Championship for Leigh – then Centurions – and Featherstone Rovers twice over, he now re-joins the Knights on a deal running until the end of 2026, headed up by Andrew Henderson.
Will Dagger makes Championship switch on long-term contract
24-year-old Dagger has gained further insight into his new club throughout 2023, working closely with York Valkyrie, who last weekend were crowned champions of the Women’s Super League with a Grand Final victory over Leeds Rhinos.
The new recruit is looking forward to a new challenge, saying: “I’m very happy to have signed for the Knights! I’ve been given an insight into what the Club has got to offer and where’s it’s going while working with York Valkyrie this year.
“I’m really happy to be here, and hopefully we can have a good season in 2024 and be up there pushing towards the top of the table.
“Speaking to Clint (Goodchild, Chairman) through my role at the Valkyrie, he mentioned that he’d been keeping an eye on me and that him and Hendo liked the way I was playing. I spoke to them about how they saw the Club progressing and it really excited me.
“I need to make sure that I have a good pre-season and prove to Hendo that I’m worthy of that spot, because no shirt is ever given. You have to work hard for it and I’m willing to do that.”
Dagger hailed by new boss: ‘A tremendous full-back who is experienced at Super League level’
Dagger debuted in Super League at 18 for Warrington Wolves, and went on to feature in a play-off semi-final as well as a Challenge Cup semi-final for Hull KR.
New boss Henderson – who was appointed by York ahead of 2023 on a long-term deal – is vastly experienced in the game, and has high praise for his latest acquisition.
Head coach Henderson added: I’m very happy to bring Will to the Club as full-back was a position that we were looking to strengthen in terms of our quality and depth, and bringing Will to the club gives us that.
“He’s a tremendous full-back who is experienced at Super League level. He will bring a lot of quality attributes in terms of tempo of run, his skill out of the back, his positional play and his competitive edge, which is the main thing I admired in his game.
“For Will, this is a real opportunity to establish himself and he has a real opportunity to cement himself as the number one, if he performs to the levels that we know he can.
“We believe he has his best rugby league ahead of him. We’re really excited to see what he can bring now and where he can go to in the future.”
Dagger becomes York’s 12th confirmed squad member for 2024, and will line up alongside the likes of ex-NRL ace Ata Hingano, Ireland international Ronan Michael and stalwart Pauli Pauli.