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Cockayne to take up new challenge in 2018

Hull KR stalwart Ben Cockayne will end his playing career with Rovers at the end of the season after agreeing to join York City Knights in 2018.

Cockayne, who is currently celebrating his testimonial, has been a fan favourite during his two spells in Red and White and will take up a part-time role off the field at KCOM Craven Park alongside his playing duties with the Robins’ partner club.

The 34-year-old, who has racked up 229 appearances and scored 77 tries so far in Rovers colours, has accepted a role within the club’s commercial department and will have several other ambassadorial duties moving forwards, whilst also having a key role to play on the field with the Knights.

Speaking to www.hullkr.co.uk, Cockayne said: “I’ve had the opportunity to explore two new opportunities on and off the field at the end of the season and I’m excited by the challenge of joining the Knights and working with the off-field staff here at Hull KR.

“Pulling on the Rovers shirt has meant a great deal to me over the years and I’m looking forward to contributing to the club in other ways behind the scenes, but I’m not ready to hang up my boots and call time on my career. I’m still feeling fit and strong, I’m enjoying training and I believe I’ve got a lot to offer, both in terms of my own form and working with some of the younger players at York, including Hull KR’s dual registration contingent who I obviously know well.

“It’s a good feeling to have my future sorted and to know I’m going to be working with some great people at both clubs, but for now my focus will be on finishing the season strongly with Hull KR and hopefully being part of a promotion-winning side for the second time.”

Head coach Tim Sheens added: “I’ve only worked with Ben for a year but I was well aware of him whilst I was with Salford. He’s been a great servant to Hull Kingston Rovers and he epitomises what you want in a player in terms of hard work, determination and his connection with the supporters.

“He’s had an important role to play this season as an experienced member of the squad but he understands our position moving forwards with some of the younger players coming through. To his credit, he’s not let that affect him and he’s contributed well at training and when he’s been called into the side.

“Ben will remain involved at the club next season in an off-field capacity and there’s still plenty of football to be played over these next few weeks as well, so this isn’t a case of goodbye. He’s still got a lot to give as a player and we wish him luck with the Knights when the time comes. He’ll be linking up with a really good club and one which we’ve struck up a positive partnership with.”

Despite Cockayne’s plans to play for the Knights next season, efforts remain underway to organise a testimonial match on his behalf in January, with further details to be confirmed in due course.

Photo: Cockayne to take up new challenge in 2018