From NQ to West Yorkshire - new journey for Jones

It’s a fair distance from Barlow Park in Cairns to Post Office Road, the home ground of Featherstone Rovers in West Yorkshire.

It’s 15.033 kilometres in fact - and it is the latest leg in a remarkable journey that could see Connor Jones back on a plane, to Toronto to play against the Wolfpack at Lamport Stadium, in less than a week.

An Emerald Tigers junior, Jones spent a year with the Easts Tigers in 2014 before moving to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. He played eight games for the Bulldogs Under 20 side in 2015 and 2016 before moving to the Northern Pride in 2017. 

The UK club confirmed his signing which will see him link with former Intrust Super Cup players Conor Carey, Thompson Teteh, Cameron King and Dane Chisholm.

Makahesi Makatoa – who he knows well from his time in Sydney – will also be a familiar face at the West Yorkshire club.

Originally playing off the bench and splitting the hooking duties with premiership winner Ryan Ghietti at the Pride, he has made the role his own in 2019, where up until Round 16, he had played in all of the Pride’s games this season, starting in 12 of 15.

In his two-and-a-half years with the Pride, he notched up 47 Intrust Super Cup appearances.

Northern Pride Chairman Tony Williamson said while they would miss his skills, the whole organisation were thrilled for Jones.

“He’s a fine young man, with great parents, from a lovely family in Emerald,” Williamson said.

“He’s always been respectful and courteous ... it’s actually a double blow for me (as I am also) Connor’s employer at Re/Max Cairns, so I’m losing a very good employee as well.”

Williamson said his departure to play in the UK was another tick for the pathway provided by the Intrust Super Cup.

“One of our strategic goals at the Pride is to help these young men achieve the very best they can in both their career and life and we are immensely proud of the opportunity Connor has earned,” Williamson said.

“On the field he is a super tough player and ultra-competitive and we could not be happier for him. We are sure playing in England will take his game to another level.”

Jones described the decision to leave the Pride as the toughest of his career to date.

"It was a really hard decision to leave, the club has been tremendous, and all the boys are fantastic. I have really enjoyed my time in Cairns,” Jones said.

“The opportunity to live overseas and see the world was pretty hard to turn down though.

"I want to thank Ty Williams (Pride coach), Tony Williamson (Pride Chairman) and the whole board for agreeing to let me go. It is great to be leaving on such good terms, the Pride will always be a special place to me".

He leaves Cairns on Sunday and arrives in Birmingham on Monday, from there it is a two-hour drive to his new home. He hopes to join his new team mates at training the very next day; with the Championship club chasing promotion to Super League in 2020.