Holdsworth savouring fresh start at Hull
Daniel Holdsworth is delighted his old club Salford City Reds have found a saviour but cannot hide the relief he feels over fleeing the beleaguered club.
The 28-year-old Australian half-back had two years left on his contract with the City Reds, who have lurched from one crisis to another over the winter, and he did not hesitate when offered a lucrative move to Hull FC.
Holdsworth signed a two-year deal with the Black and Whites in September and is currently counting down the days to their Super League opener against champions Leeds Rhinos on Friday week.
“I’m loving it,” Holdsworth said. “I can’t stop smiling. I’m very happy.
“I hope we can progress as a club over the next few years and be one of the biggest in Super League.”
Holdsworth spent three years at Salford, captaining them in 2011, and was arguably the most influential player in a struggling team. He was also man of the match in the Exiles’ win over England in July.
Within a month of confirming Holdsworth’s exit, Salford were served with a winding-up petition and among the creditors were two of his team-mates, fellow overseas players Luke Patten and Vinnie Anderson.
Since then, St Helens-based businessman Marwan Koukash has come to the City Reds’ rescue and his takeover is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
Holdsworth, one of 10 members of Phil Veivers’ squad to leave the club at the end of last season, is keeping his fingers crossed for the club’s future but makes no apology for looking after himself.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to Salford but I just had a chance to come to a bigger club and jumped at it,” he said.
“I had two years to go but financially Salford had to do things to survive. Hull paid a fee for me and that was it.
“I hope they survive. I feel sorry for the boys. They’ve been kept in the dark for a long time. There are a lot of good guys there. We had a really good crew.
“I really hope they get taken over because the boys deserve not to have that on their minds going into games, not knowing if they’re going to survive or get paid.
“And it’s good for the league too; you’ve got to have a team in Manchester.”
Holdsworth has been given the number six jersey for the new season and is expected to form a half-back partnership with New Zealander Aaron Heremaia.
However, Hull can also boast the experience of another seasoned Australian, Brett Seymour, and the long-serving Richard Horne to provide competition for both half-back positions, giving coach Peter Gentle plenty of options.
“We’ve got four guys who have played a lot of first grade and a couple of younger kids too,” Holdsworth said.
“At training we’ve been rolling in and out and everyone is falling into shape so I suppose Peter going to have a headache.
“Last year they had a lot injuries and they had a lot of young kids playing for them.
“It probably cost them but, looking back now, it was really good because all those kids have had a taste of Super League.
“They want to be in the team in round one. They’re hungry and that’s pushing everyone on.”
Hull are currently licking their wounds from a defeat by arch rivals Hull KR in Sunday’s friendly at the KC Stadium but the former St George Illawarra and Canterbury Bulldogs player says they are undaunted by the prospect of facing the champions first up when the serious business starts next week.
“It’s unreal, Friday night against Leeds on Sky,” Holdsworth said. “It’s a great start I think.
“Everyone has got to play them so we may as well play them in round one. Everyone has got a big game in round one.”