WINGER CROOKES JOINS HULL RANKS
By Matt Holden | Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Following the arrival of Daniel Holdsworth and Ben Galea for 2013, Hull FC have continued to build a squad blending both youth and experience next season with the capture of winger Jason Crookes.
The former Bradford Bulls flyer and England Academy international will become the latest player to join the ambitious Black and Whites having put pen to paper on a three-year contract at the KC Stadium.
“I think every player knows what a massive club Hull is. Coming through the ranks as a kid, I watched the likes of Gareth Raynor and Matt Sing play for Hull and they were two of my favourite players,” said Huddersfield-born Crookes.
“For the last three years at Bradford, we’ve not made the play-offs and that’s been disappointing but Hull have done well this year considering the injuries they’ve had and I think we can really push on next year.
“It’s a really good club, it’s run very professionally and Peter Gentle is a coach I’m looking forward to working with. I just can’t wait to get started now.”
Having toured Australia with the England Academy in 2009 as a centre, Crookes switched to the wing before the start of Super League XVII and bagged seven tries in 13 appearances this season, including a hat-trick against Hull KR during his side’s comeback victory at Craven Park in March.
A good defensive player blessed with plenty of pace and strength in abundance, the 22-year-old scored against the Black and Whites in Hull’s 70-6 victory over Bradford earlier this month and bagged a memorable length-of-the-field try at the KC Stadium when the two teams met in a pre-season friendly in January.
Crookes becomes the club’s seventh new player for 2013, with forwards Jay Pitts and Liam Watts brought in early this year, while marquee signings Gareth Ellis and Daniel Holdsworth will join head coach Peter Gentle’s squad for next season.
Former Hull KR skipper Ben Galea will also ply his trade for the Black and Whites in 2013, while England Knights centre Joe Arundel completes the list of confirmed signings for next year and could yet form a formidable partnership with the club’s latest recruit on Hull’s flank.
And with Crookes just the latest of a string of talented young outside backs to commit his long-term future to the club, Gentle said the former Newsome Panthers amateur had plenty to offer the Black and Whites.
“With the way we want the team to play, we identified we were going to need speed in our side, particularly the outside backs and Jason certainly brings that,” he told www.hullfc.com
“He is a player we first noticed in pre-season when he ran down Tom Briscoe and we’ve followed him since then. He works very hard at both ends of the field, he is quick, strong and very versatile, as he can play at wing or centre and down either side.
“With players like Jason, Tom, Tom Lineham, Ben Crooks and Joe Arundel, we have a nucleus of quick young outside backs who’ll now be with us and settled for the next few years, providing plenty of competition for places.
“The raw pace that they possess is something you can’t coach, it’s natural, so to have that in our side is very valuable and I’m sure Jason will be a significant signing for us.”