York Knights sign New Zealander half-back: ‘A player I’ve admired since his move to the UK’

Drew Darbyshire
Nikau Williams Newcastle Thunder Alamy

Nikau Williams in action for Newcastle Thunder in 2023 - Alamy

York Knights have signed New Zealander half-back Nikau Williams from Newcastle Thunder on a two-year deal from 2024.

The 23-year-old has spent the last three seasons in the Championship with Whitehaven and Newcastle, scoring 16 tries and kicking 97 goals in 80 appearances.

Williams spent the 2023 campaign with Thunder as they suffered relegation from the Championship, playing 25 games for the North East club.

The Kiwi playmaker began his career in the junior systems in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm before making the move to England with Whitehaven ahead of the 2021 season.

Williams will link up with his new York team-mates when they commence pre-season training, having put pen to paper on a deal at the LNER Community Stadium until at least the end of 2025.

On joining the Knights, Williams said: “I’m really excited to have signed for the York Knights and I’m really keen to get stuck into pre-season and rip in with the rest of the boys.

“Coming up against York over the past couple of years, it’s clear to how professional the club is and their visions really suited what I’m looking to achieve in my career.

“I’d like to think of myself as a ball-running half that likes to play off the cuff and I’d like to think I can bring that style to York.

“I’m still young and I’m still learning all the time so hopefully I can bring my best footy to the Knights.”

York coach Andrew Henderson delighted to secure services of Nikau Williams

York boss Andrew Henderson said: “I’m really happy to have secured Nikau’s services here at York.

“Nikau is a player I’ve admired since his move to the UK, having watched him at Whitehaven and Newcastle.

“Nikau is tough, competes hard and has a really good skill set. He has a good kicking game, is an established goal-kicker, has good skills and he’s a genuine running threat when he takes the line on.

“I’m pleased that Nikau saw that York was the right club for him and could see that this is where he can develop and play his best rugby league.

“Nikau is another player that has still got a lot of time on his side and I’m really looking forward to working with him and seeing what he can produce in 2024.”

Williams becomes York’s 20th confirmed squad member for the 2024 season alongside Jesse Dee, AJ Towse, Ata Hingano, Conor Fitzsimmons, Jordan Thompson, James Cunningham, Myles Harrison, Ronan Michael, Jack Teanby, Ukuma Ta’ai, Pauli Pauli, Harry Price, Brenden Santi, Levi Edwards, Oli Field, Will Dagger and Jimmy Keinhorst and Taylor Pemberton.

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