Halifax Panthers are delighted to announce the signing of Ben Forster from Rochdale Hornets on a one year contract until the end of the 2023 Betfred Championship season.

The youngster has been plying his trade in League One with the Hornets having previously turned out for community club Saddleworth Rangers and Hopwood Hall College.

The 21 year old forward, who can play in the middle of the park and also in the back row, was  delighted to call The Shay his new home.

“I’m over the moon to be joining Halifax”, said Forster. “I just can’t wait to get going, the club have got big plans with it being the 150th anniversary so I’m sure they’re hoping for a big year, as am I. A lot of hard work will go into pre season to ensure we have a good start to the year.”

“I spoke to Simon a few times last year just to see what he was about, what his thoughts were and everything he said was really positive about my development and where the club is going so I couldn’t wait to get started.”

“I would describe myself as a really competitive player with lots of passion, a tough and hard runner who has got a bit of skill as well so I feel I bring a lot to the table. From the people that I’ve spoken to, the main difference between League one and the Championship is the speed of the  game. It’s a lot faster so I think I need a big pre season with a lot of fitness work and hopefully I should go alright.”

And Panthers boss Simon Grix was happy to have another member of his squad for 2023 confirmed, having leaned on some old Fax links to get the bigger picture on his latest aquisition.

“Ben comes to us from Rochdale with a bit of a similar background to Will Calcott, where he didn’t get the academy background. He came through Rochdale Mayfield and Hopwood Hall College, the connection there with Matt Calland lead him to finding himself at Rochdale (Hornets). The move really all came around through our old back rower Paul Brearley, who was with him at Rochdale.”

“We had a good chat about him, he felt there’s a good player in him and he could fit into our environment really well. With the way we like to play he thinks he would suit us and it just sort of went from there. Having watched him, he’s a big thing, a big body. I’m not sure what he is yet, whether he’s a back rower or a middle. He’s played plenty of both but we’re not sure which one he will hang his hat on eventually, which is not a bad thing I suppose at his age of 21. But he’s certainly a big body who carries the ball well with some natural ability about him as well which is exciting. But again, like the other younger blokes in the squad, they’re further away from the finished article so it’s exciting to be involved in their development and see where they go.”

“He spent a bit of time this year with Leeds Rhinos, trained a couple of days a week with them  which was really beneficial for him and probably sparked a bit of hunger in him of what might be. He’ll definitely get the time put in from us and if he meets us half way with effort, I think we might have a player on our hands in the future.”

“He’s definitely got the right people around him, we’ve got some experienced players. And what’s good about our squad is that we’ve got a group who care about each other, and they are there helping each other out to get better. I expect the experienced blokes will be taking him under their wing and helping him out, but it’s on Ben as well. He certainly seems receptive to getting better and wanting to learn so that’s brilliant. He’ll be a bit of a spongy character I think.”


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