LUKE Walsh says he's looking forward to combining with Tyler Randell for the first time and reuniting with former teammates Brad Tighe and Warren Schillings in what will be a history-making campaign for the Northern Hawks.
Walsh, fresh from being crowned Newcastle Rugby League player of the year for a second time, has agreed to join the recently-promoted club ahead of their maiden season in first grade.
The 35-year-old halfback, with over a decade of experience across the NRL and English Super League, feels lining up alongside former Knights hooker Randell will be beneficial for his own game.
"Outside one Indigenous tournament, I haven't played with Tyler before," Walsh said.
"I'm looking forward to it and think he'll take a fair bit of pressure off myself, which is good."
Randell and Hawks captain-coach Tighe guided the Port Stephens-based Hawks to this year's Newcastle RL reserve-grade premiership.
Schillings also looks poised to join Walsh in switching sides from Central.
Walsh, Tighe and Schillings won a Newcastle RL title with Wests in 2019.
"It was definitely a hard decision to leave [Central]. Randall and Isaac [Briggs brothers] and players you love to take the field with. Great club Central and got a soft spot for them now," Walsh, at the Butcher Boys in 2021 and 2022, said.
"Obviously the biggest factor was playing with Tighsey and us boys to get together again and bow out. New team in the first grade comp and trying to give it a shake.
"Bringing the young fellas through as well, they've got some pretty exciting young talent up there."
Walsh added that "I needed a change" and "thought it would be the right fit".
His brother Ryan, also a playmaker, departed Central and joined Wyong for 2023.
Hawks pair Timanu Alexander and Josh Toole were recently named in the Rebels representative squad. Kiah Cooper and Floyd Tighe have also been linked to the club.
Meanwhile, former Knights player and Kurri Kurri captain-coach George Ndaira has been appointed NSW Cup mentor for the Newtown Jets.
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