Confirming a move that has been speculated much over the last few months, York City Knights’ second rower Joe Batchelor has put pen to paper on a deal with St Helens starting from 2019.
One of the Minster city club’s shining lights over the last couple of season, 23 year old Batchelor has starred for the Knights as they have soared to the top of Betfred League One this season, leaving many to suggest they could well be in the Championship next season. The older brother of Wakefield’s James has signed a three year deal with St Helens and it is believed that head coach Justin Holbrook views the back rower as something of a project player. Speaking of his new acquisition, the Australian commented “he is a strong running second rower with good skill and he also has a great work ethic. He has now matured as a player and hopefully he will continue to improve with us at Saints. We are looking forward to welcoming him into our system.”
The player himself has made his way in rugby league the hard way. Initially a product of Knights coach James Ford’s Wakefield College setup, Batchelor had a year playing in Australia after he was let go from the Sheffield Eagles academy. Understandably disappointed, he made his way back to UK rugby league when he signed for Coventry Bears and, after eleven appearances in 2016, moved to York to reunite with Ford the following year. It is inevitable, then, that Batchelor is keen to take this opportunity at St Helens with both hands. Of his move, he remarked that “I’m delighted to have signed with St Helens from next season and have the unbelievable opportunity train in a full time environment with world class players and hopefully play Super League rugby.” Furthermore, he thanked all involved at York for helping him to earn his Super League shot while confirming his focus to the Knights’ cause. “I am still 100% committed to finishing my year at York and making sure it ends with promotion to the Championship,” he affirmed.