Seven KR Academy Graduates Awarded First Pro Deals
Hull KR are excited to confirm the club have signed seven Academy graduates to two-year first team deals until the end of 2024.
The seven-strong group comprised of Connor Barley, Darnell Byas, Harvey Moore, Harvey Reynolds, Jack Potter and Leo Tennison will join Willie Peters’ first team squad next season.
Following the signing of Zach Fishwick to a new long-term deal, the Robins continue their long-term commitment to nurturing homegrown talent into 2023 after Danny McGuire gave four homegrown players their debuts in 2022 through Connor Moore, Zach Fishwick, Charlie Cavanaugh and Connor Barley.
KR’s Academy captain, Harvey Moore will join the first team officially in 2023 after being named in Danny McGuire’s squad to face Toulouse earlier this season.
Equally comfortable at centre and at fullback, Moore has had a promising season for the Robins’ Academy, helping to kickstart their current run of good form with wins over Wigan and St. Helens during the Summer.
Sadly, Moore suffered a dislocated knee in the junior Robins win over Bradford U18s last month, ending his season. However. the young fullback will be ready to go for the start of pre-season later this year.
Joining the Skirlaugh Bulls’ junior will be exciting halfback, Jack Potter and dangerous winger, Darnell Byas. Potter alongside Byas and a number of the signees have trained with the first team last year and in 2022 in preparation for the step up.
One of the junior Robins’ generals, Potter’s kicking game and support for the Academy’s younger backs has helped the side to become a threat from anywhere on the pitch in 2022. The former East Hull junior will be in good company learning from the Robins’ trio of halfbacks in Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis and Rowan Milnes.
Before joining West Hull as a junior, Darnell Byas was engrossed in athletics and has gone on to use those skills to become a dangerous winger for the Robins’ academy with smart finishing skills. Byas will only continue to improve as he joins the full-time environment for 2023.
After scoring on his debut in Hull KR’s hard-fought loss against St. Helens, Connor Barley has already made three Super League appearances for the Robins and will go into 2023 with a taste of first team action.
The 17-year-old started 2022 as a first year U18s player, plying his trade for the club’s Academy and Reserves’ sides. Barley has then had a whirlwind summer, being called up for Yorkshire’s Academy side to face Lancashire in a three-game series, playing in all three games, before making his first team debut in August.
Barley will be joined by fellow Yorkshire U18s representative, Leo Tennison. The towering prop has taken his game to a new level in 2022 playing more minutes and becoming a constant force for the junior Robins.
Tennison will not have to look far for suitable mentors in the first team with the Robins’ hosting an impressive front-row of Matty Storton, Roger Millward Player of the Season, George King alongside 2023 singings’ Rhys Kennedy, Jesse Sue, Yusuf Aydin and James Batchelor.
KR’s engine room will see two further injections of youth from the club’s Academy with loose-forward, Owen Maull and back rower, Harvey Reynolds joining next season.
A hardworking loose-forward, Owen Maull will be looking to build on a strong year for the Robins’ Academy and Reserves’ side. An important part of the Academy’s current good run of form, Maull’s relentless drive in attack and defence will put the loose man in good stead for his first pre-season in the first team.
After suffering a shock leg break in the win over London earlier this season, Harvey Reynolds is nearing full fitness and will be pushing to feature in the Academy’s two ‘play off’ games later this month.
A former East Hull junior, Reynolds will be in good company in the second-row being able to learn off Luis Johnson, Frankie Halton and Kane Linnett.
Head of Player Development, Jason Netherton was delighted to see the seven Academy graduates earn first team deals with the Robins for 2023: “It’s been slowly bubbling over the last few years as the Academy came back together.
“The club are really backing up what they’ve spoken about and getting their rewards. We’ll be having similar conversations about the next group of players this time next year too.
“Our Academy season has been extremely positive and the senior boys that are making the next step have been real leaders and fantastic in that side this year. Willie (Peters), Danny (McGuire) and Paul (Lakin) are very much on-board with getting these young lads through and introducing them into the first team.
“The fans should be really excited about seeing these home-grown local players join the first team for 2023. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Hull KR.”
Finally, Hull KR would like to thank the city’s community clubs for their hands in developing the club’s up and coming talent. Thank you Skirlaugh Bulls, East Hull, West Hull, Cottingham Tigers, Hull Wyke, Myton and Holderness Vikings for your part in nurturing Hull’s latest rugby league talent.