Hunslet Hawks continue squad building for 2015

Richie Barnett.
Richie Barnett.

Hunslet Hawks have swooped for more players as they look to continue to build their first team squad for the rigours of a Kingstone Press Championship season in 2015 following promotion.

Goalkicking half-back Simon Brown, winger Richie Barnett, utility back Brandon Conway, teenage half-back Jordan Gale and centre Elliott Cosgrove are all on board for next season with director of rugby Darren Williams promising that there was still two more to come to complete the squad building.

Hawks are delighted to have captured 23-year-old centre Elliott Cosgrove from Keighley Cougars on a one-year contract.

Cosgrove joined the Cougars from Dewsbury Rams in 2013 following a loan spell. He is an Irish International and a former Huddersfield Giants Academy player. Director of rugby Williams said: “Elliott’s a very aggressive defender who still has plenty of improvement in him.

“He has recently been playing for Huddersfield Rugby Union before his call-up to the Ireland squad for the European Championship. He is a centre who can also play in the back row.

“We’re getting there now with our squad make up. It’s been a hectic few weeks following the Grand Final success and we were aware that we would need an influx of new blood as the 2014 squad broke up for differing reasons.

“We’ve another two signings to complete later on this week before we start back for pre-season on November 18.”

Williams is also pleased with the signing of playmaker Brown with the 25-year-old also agreeing a one-year contract to join from Halifax.

Leeds-born Brown graduated through the Leeds Rhinos junior system after signing from Hunslet Parkside. He was released by the Rhinos and had three terrific years at Sheffield Eagles before joining York City Knights. He was then snapped up by Halifax coach Karl Harrison and spent 2014 at the Shay.

Williams said: “We were looking to recruit some real quality in the halves once we decided to release both the Coyle brothers from their 2015 contracts with the club and moved instantly once we were made aware of Simon’s availability.

“He is an organising half renowned for a terrific kicking game and is exactly what we were looking for. He’s not had the best couple of years since he moved from Sheffield by his own admission and we’re confident that under head coach Barry Eaton he can develop his game even further.

“Simon works and lives in the city and like most of our 2015 squad will be a local lad returning to play for his community club.”

Richie Barnett has rejoined from Keighley Cougars on a one-year contract.

The winger, who was suspended from the game for two years in February 2008 after testing positive for a banned substance, has Super League experience with Hull FC, Warrington Wolves and Salford City Reds.

Williams said: “He scores tries as his career to date proves and his ratio of a try every other game is most impressive. What’s really impressed me with Richie was his desire to play at the highest level possible, that’s been his motivation in this move and not financial gain and he’s always stated how much he enjoyed his previous spell with the club.”

Williams also revealed that the club have signed 19-year-olds Brandon Conway, from Wakefield Wildcats, and Jordan Gale, from Bradford Bulls, on one-year contracts.

Gale is a former Leeds Rhinos scholarship player having played his junior rugby at Middleton & Oulton. He is related to current Super League star Luke Gale and his family are steeped in Rugby League.

Williams said “Jordan is a goal kicking half-back who lives in Middleton, he was looking for an opportunity to progress his career and was keen on testing himself playing open age semi professional rugby.

“He is keen and hungry to grasp this opportunity with both hands and is really looking forward to wearing the Hunslet shirt and ripping into pre season next month.

“It’s been our policy to encourage as many local lads to play for their community club as possible given that were now a supporters owned club & the fact that we need to engage with & be at the heart of the local community to increase our support base.”

Conway is a utility back who can play wing, centre and full-back with confidence.

Williams added “From the footage we have seen Brandon is a big strong ball carrier and a good finisher; he’s got some decent size about him as well and he’s coming here for an opportunity to play at a good standard against some seasoned professionals and were quite excited about how he may progress.”