The fixtures are in, and York City Knights fans can start to look forward to some cracking action.
This year’s Championship is set to be one of the most unusual of recent years. Covid-19 still looms over professional rugby, and exactly when fans will be allowed back in is still uncertain.
Meanwhile the 2021 season is set to be the most competitive yet with a new club joining the division in Newcastle Thunder ,and a new name in Halifax Panthers.
After the season was declared null and void last July, Knights missed out to Leigh Centurions who were chosen by the RFL to make the step up to the Super League after Toronto Wolfpacks failed reinstatement to England’s top tier.
When last season came to an abrupt end, Knights sat in 13th place just above Whitehaven RLFC, having only played four of their 26 matches.
Knights know have to regroup and go again ahead of the 2021 campaign.
One of the big boys
The long-awaited return has allowed them to lay down all the necessary groundwork to fight for promotion to the Super League.
Their new 8,500 capacity home at the LNER Community Stadium means that when fans are welcomed back, they will have all the facilities and backing to compete amongst the big boys of the division.
New recruits such as Ryan Atkin, Adam Cutherberson and Ben Jones-Bishop has no doubt strengthened the squad and will help provide Super League experience in the Knights’ bid to secure top-flight status.
The Knights look to kickstart their campaign on Friday 2 April behind closed doors at the LNER Community Stadium.
They play French side Toulouse Olympique who have also heavily improved their ranks with signings such as former Super League winners Mitch Garbutt, Dominique Peyroux and Joseph Paulo, which will be no walk over for City.
The Knights played Toulouse in last year’s division opener when they fell short to Sylvain Houles men, losing 22-10. It is no wonder coach; James Ford is excited at the prospect of facing the French side.
How will the 2021 season be different?
- Following a meeting of Championship and League 1 club representatives, it has been agreed that the upcoming seasons positions will be determined by a points percentage approach that was adopted by the Super League in their 2020 campaign to ensure COVID 19 cannot fully disrupt the season.
- The Betfred Championship 2021 will also see the adoption of scrapping the golden point rule with plans to reconsider for the 2022 campaign due to fears surrounding players welfares who have not played for over a year.
- All fixtures that are set to be played behind closed doors will be streamed on the Betfred Championship League app and website with Knights home season ticket holders able to access a live stream on the club website.