North Wales Crusaders have started building their squad for the 2021 campaign, agreeing a new one-year deal with forward Gav Rodden.

He made the step up from the amateur ranks with Crusaders ahead of 2020, joining the club from Wigan St Judes.

Having represented England Community Lions in a tour of New Zealand last year and featured for England in the 2018 Commonwealth Championship, it was no surprise that Rodden adapted to life at a higher level very quickly.

On his competitive debut for North Wales against amateurs Rochdale Mayfield in the Challenge Cup, Rodden bagged himself an impressive four tries in front of the BBC cameras, before adding another to his tally in the League 1 victory at London Skolars.

After a positive start to life in a Crusaders shirt, the coronavirus pandemic brought the 2020 season to a halt, but the back rower has extended his stay at the club by a further year at least.

On his new deal at Crusaders, Rodden said: “I’m really looking forward to getting back to it and staying with Crusaders for another year.

“We’d started 2020 quite well, but we’ve got a lot of time now to put some things right that we needed to improve on and get to know each other better as a group.

“North Wales gave me a chance and I’ve got a lot of time for Muzza so I wanted to stay here.

“Everyone is ambitious and we all want to do well in League 1 so it’ll be exciting to see what we can achieve next season.”

North Wales head coach Anthony Murray added: “Gav was a relatively unknown player in the amateur game who we’ve given an opportunity to.

“He started the 2020 season very well, showed exactly what he was capable of and has attracted interest from elsewhere.

“He wants to develop with us and knows Crusaders is a good place to play rugby league.

“We’ve got a track record of bringing in amateur players and those from Super League academies, helping to develop them as players.

“We’re delighted that Gav has decided to sign a new deal and will be with us for the 2021 season.”

NWC Rugby League