Washbrook to retire at end of season

Published: 10 September, 2021 - 4:59 pm

York City Knights can confirm that Danny Washbrook will be retiring from the sport at the end of this season.

A veteran with over 300 Super League appearances, Washbrook, sponsored by Humber Street Distillery Company, joined the Knights ahead of the 2020 Betfred Championship season. The 35-year-old joined from Hull FC, his hometown club who he represented in two spells either side of four years with Wakefield Trinity.

With the former, he reached the 2006 Super League Grand Final while also being part of the squad that won back-to-back Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley in 2016 and 2017.

To date, Washbrook has made nineteen competitive appearances for the Knights and, in his previous appearance, was instrumental at hooker in helping a young side to a 16-29 victory over Newcastle Thunder.

Discussing his retirement, Washbrook explained how the time was right to make the decision and that it was important to him that it be done on his terms.

“My body felt that it could do another year and I didn’t want to end after playing, what, five games last year before it was cancelled.

“I didn’t want to go out like that so I thought, let’s go another year. Now, though, the time feels right to call it a day. I’ve got a job now, I’ve settled into that and it’s going well so I’m looking forward to it.”

Washbrook also acknowledged how, while this season hasn’t gone to plan on the field, he believes that the team and club are well-set for the future.

“It’s been a difficult one all round. We’ve got a really good team and we haven’t performed anywhere near as good as we should have this year.

“At the beginning of the season, we were talking about being in the top three and it’s just not been the way it’s gone.

“If you look at the early games against Toulouse and Featherstone. I don’t think anybody else has run Toulouse as close as we did and, if Riley kicks the drop goal against Featherstone, we win that game rather than a charge down try.

“It’s one of them, that game could have changed everything. We’ve put in some good performances and some not so good performances, though, so we’re probably where we deserve to be.”

Washbrook’s versatility has been particularly valuable for the Knights this season as, during a campaign littered with lengthy injury absences across the squad, the Hull-born forward has played in the halves, at hooker, in the back row as well as loose forward.

“I know Fordy has been trying to come up with the best formula and sometimes that has meant not playing, sometimes it’s meant playing out of position. I think we’ve had over twenty different people play full-back, half-back and nine this year – I think I’ve played three out of the four as well – so it has been difficult all round but I’m used to playing different positions!”

Heading into retirement, Washbrook admits that he is really looking forward to spending more time with his family in the coming months and that, while coaching in rugby league may be a possibility in the future, for now he intends to enjoy an element of freedom.

“I’ve been involved with the game for sixteen seasons and it takes it’s toll on you as a player but also on your family. You don’t get to go on holidays in the summer like everyone else, your weekend’s plans can change depending on when the game takes place.

“It can be hard at times and then, at the end of the season, you get your six weeks off when the kids are at school and it’s cold and dark. It’s going to be great to be able to spend a bit of time with the family in the summer.

“I do enjoy coaching, I did it for about ten years here and there at amateur teams so it might be something later down the line but not yet.”

For the time being, Washbrook’s coaching intentions very much focus on a different sport!

“Both my sons play football and I actually coach the younger lad’s team – I never thought I’d be coaching an under-8s football team but I am! They play on a Sunday and sometimes I’ve had to miss it because we obviously play on a Sunday and, with coaching the youngest one, I very rarely get to see the older one play.

“At the weekend, he got Players’ Player of the Year and I nearly welled up because I was that proud of him because I know how hard he works and he always moans that I never get to go see him. Before we set off, I said to my wife that I’d love it if he won something so I was really proud that he did.

“Being able to have time with them, to take them places and do stuff will be great.”

Discussing the highlights of his career, Washbrook highlighted the successes he experienced with Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity.

“Early on, playing in the Super League Grand Final, is a night I won’t forget. I probably didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have at the time. I’d just turned 21 before that and the club won the Challenge Cup in 2005 so I probably thought that there was every chance I could be in the Grand Final or Cup final again.

“Some players never play in a Grand Final so to do that early in my career was special. Winning at Wembley in 2016 was special, as well. Winning the Challenge Cup there was the thing that everyone held over Hull at that time so to be able to be part of the first-ever team that did it, to be part of that history, is something that I’m really proud of.

“To then do that back-to-back, with Hull never having done that before, was amazing. To do that with my hometown club is something really special to me.

“Winning the first-ever Million Pound Game with Wakefield was great as well. I’d already signed to go back to Hull but to play my part in securing the club’s future was brilliant and scoring a try in that match was a good way to finish.”

Finally, Washbrook discussed the Knights and the future of the club.

“I think the club has a really bright future coming. James Ford is obviously an excellent coach and the club has a stadium that matches it’s aspirations. They do everything well – good marketing, a good corporate and commercial side and I think that York is a place that, if it really takes hold of rugby league, could have a really good team and setup.

“Some of the players that the club has got, from the York area and other areas as well, can really thrive and it would be great to see York take the step up in the next few years.”

Danny will wrap up his career on Sunday 19th September at the LNER Community Stadium against London Broncos as part of a Knights double-header with our Ladies team also facing Castleford Tigers. We’re delighted to be able to offer our fans a discounted ticket price at £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and FREE for under-16s! These tickets will be valid for both matches and are available now here – it would be great to see as many of you there as possible to send off Ryan in style!