Rochdale Hornets


11th May 2018, 11:36


Trialist Tyler Whittaker has penned a permanent contract with the club following a successful trial period, which saw him pick up the man of the match award in back-to-back appearances.

Rochdale Hornets have completed the permanent signing of Tyler Whittaker, as the halfback has impressed during a successful trial period.

The former Warrington Wolves academy graduate had been released by the Super League club due to their decision to pull their reserve grade.

He had fallen out of the sport before joining amateur side Crosfields, where he caught the eye of Hornets staff and earnt himself a trial.

After slotting in seamlessly in a 38-16 defeat to Sheffield Eagles and starring in a 32-27 victory over Dewsbury Rams, the 22-year-old is pleased to have signed permanently at the Crown Oil Arena.

“I’m made up really, because earlier in the year I wasn’t even playing rugby,” admitted Whittaker.

“Then, I started playing a couple of games for Crosfields with real intentions of getting back into professional rugby.

“For Killer to give me this chance, I’m actually made up.”

“I enjoy the set up at the club, I get on with all the lads.

“I’m enjoying going to training now, in the past at other clubs I wasn’t as keen.

“I’ve got a good relationship with everyone in the group, players and staff, and I really like the set-up of the club.”

Both of Whittaker’s performances during his trial saw him pick up the man of the match award, as he has impressed both staff and supporters.

He is looking to keep up that standard moving forward, as he looks to cement his place in the halves for the club.

“I just want to keep it up.

“I want that standard of performance to be a level that I don’t slip under every week, and I want to improve with each game.”

It is a great redemption story for the youngster, as he had questioned his future in the sport following the news of the reserve grade being scrapped.

After contemplating whether he would continue in rugby league or not, Whittaker is now looking to take full advantage of the opportunity he has been given.

“The system of rugby league at the moment isn’t great, because Warrington dropped their reserves there was nowhere for me to progress to.

“It’s disheartening really, and it made me want to not play again, but I have this opportunity now and I am going to try and take it with both hands now.”

He had featured on dual-registration for the Hornets last season in their 56-16 defeat away to Toulouse Olympique, as he kicked two goals.

Lewis Hatton and Declan Kay also featured in that game, with Lee Mitchell becoming a regular for Rochdale at the back end of the 2017 season.

That trio were also part of the Wolves reserve set up, and Whittaker is hoping to settle with his new club as well as his former team mates did.

“I spent a short spell with Rochdale last year, and that was the same time those lads came into the group before signing permanently this season.

“They seem part of the furniture now.

“They seem to have settled in quite easily and that is something I want to do as well.”