15th September 2020, 12:53 | championship
York City Knights have announced the capture of former England international centre Ryan Atkins for the 2021 campaign.
Atkins joins the club with a huge amount of top-tier experience and, since making his Super League debut with Wakefield Trinity in 2006, has gone on to make in excess of 300 top-flight appearances for Trinity and Warrington Wolves.
Throughout his time in Super League, Atkins scored 165 tries in 272 appearances for The Wire and is currently the fifth-highest all-time try scorer in the competition with 186 in total.
Atkins scored a try in the 2012 Super League Grand Final and he further shone in the Challenge Cup finals.
In 2010, Atkins scored a brace as he helped Warrington lift the cup with a 30-6 victory over Leeds Rhinos and, two years later, scored again as they beat the same opposition 35-18.
Atkins is also an eight-time England international, scoring four tries for his country.
Of the eye-catching signature, head coach James Ford said: "Ryan is a big signing for us and I'm sure the supporters will be excited to watch him impose his physicality on our opponents.
"His track record speaks for itself - but I'm excited to work with someone who I feel will help lift standards on and off the field. We see Ryan as a leader and we'll be expecting him to lead us right from the front.
"He's been around some elite environments and I'm confident he will have a huge impact on us in 2021 and beyond."
Two-time Super League Dream Team member Atkins himself paid testament to the effect of Ford in attracting him to the club: "I spoke to him and I could just tell straight away that his passion and hunger for the game was evident.
"His philosophies and approach reminded me of Tony Smith and under him at Warrington was when I played my best rugby so I just knew I would be able to work really well with Fordy.
"I'm really excited to do this and I’ve not been excited for a while."