Fax youngster turns professional at hometown club

Halifax RLFC have signed the BARLA centre Chester Butler on a one-year contract.

Butler, who toured South Africa this summer, had already agreed to play for the club’s newly re-formed reserve side but has now signed a full professional deal with the club.

He was part of an all-conquering Brooksbank School side that won three National Cups, a team that also included Huddersfield Giants hooker Kruise Leeming. Butler only took up the game in his mid-teens after his potential was spotted by Brooksbank coach and former Halifax RLFC head coach Damian Ball.

A number of Super League clubs were thought to be interested in his services, with Wigan Warriors one club thought to have watched him recently.

“Chester only came to the sport relatively late, so he’s probably still a little bit raw and it’s meant he has gone under the radar a little bit,” said Fax boss Richard Marshall.

“There was some Super League interest in him, but he’s quite an astute young guy, he’s considered all the facets of that decision and I think he sees he could really accelerate his development here.

“Physically, he’s a good, natural athlete, so he can already compete in that sense; we’ve seen that already during some opposed training sessions.

“He’s quite skilful, he’s not afraid to talk and he’s a local player, which is important for us.

“We’ll get him settled into the reserves first, but if he works hard then he can put himself in contention to be in and around the first team over the next year or so.

“There’s no doubt he’s got the potential to play for Halifax at this level and maybe beyond as well.”