Newcastle Thunder

Last updated

Newcastle Thunder
Newcastle Thunder logo.svg
Club information
Full nameNewcastle Thunder Rugby League Football Club
Short nameNewcastle
Colours Gthundercolours.svg
Founded1999;24 years ago (1999)
(as "Gateshead Thunder")
Current details
ChairmanSemore Kurdi
Coach Chris Thorman
Captain Bob Beswick
Competition RFL Championship
2022 season 12th
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Kit body.svg
Kit right arm yellowborder.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts purplesides.png
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks long.svg
Home colours
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body vgrey.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts purplesides.png
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Kit socks long.svg
Away colours
Challenge Cups Quarter finalists (2009)
League 1 1 (2008)
Most capped234Joe Brown
Highest points scorer449 – Benn Hardcastle

The Newcastle Thunder are a professional rugby league club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. They play in the Betfred Championship competition, the second tier of rugby league in the United Kingdom. They play their home matches at Kingston Park, also home to rugby union side Newcastle Falcons. The club was known as Gateshead Thunder until 2015.



The club was formerly known as Gateshead Thunder, and played their home games at Gateshead International Stadium in Gateshead. The club was formed by supporters of the original Gateshead Thunder after that organisation made the decision to relocate to Hull at the end of the 1999 season. [1] The new club entered the Northern Ford Premiership for the 2001 season, however they struggled to compete, and eventually finished 17th out of the 19 clubs. [2]

Kingston Park, seen during a Newcastle Falcons game Kingston Park - 3 - geograph-1813910.jpg
Kingston Park, seen during a Newcastle Falcons game

Gateshead continued to struggle in the following season, finishing bottom of the league in 2002. [3] When the Northern Ford Premiership was split into two divisions for the 2003 season the club joined National League Two, and again finished in the bottom two, being kept off the bottom only by new entrants London Skolars. [4] The club's fortunes began to improve in 2005, a seventh-place finish being enough to gain a first ever place in the play-offs, before losing to Workington Town in their first ever play-off game. [5] The club again finished seventh in 2006, but went on to lose 46–18 to Featherstone Rovers in the play-offs. [6]

In 2008 the club won its first silverware, finishing the season as League 1 champions. [7] As champions, the club were promoted to the Championship, and avoided on-field relegation by finishing seventh under coach Steve McCormack [8] Thunder's joy at securing a second season in the second tier was however short-lived, as the club was wound up following a dispute between the directors. A new company was formed to continue the club, however the club had to restart as a Championship 1 side, effectively being relegated for the 2010 season. [9]

Gateshead Thunder were taken over by the owners of rugby union side Newcastle Falcons in 2015. [10] The club was rebranded as Newcastle Thunder and applied for permission to use Kingston Park in Newcastle as their home ground. [11]

Further silverware was earned in 2016, when Newcastle defeated North Wales Crusaders to win the League 1 Shield [12]

On 10 December 2020 Thunder were promoted to the Championship by a committee to replace Leigh Centurions who were, in turn, promoted to Super League to replace Toronto Wolfpack, who went out of business. The Thunder will play in the 2021 Championship season. [13]

Kit manufacturers and sponsors

2009 shirt Gateshead thunder shirt 2009.png
2009 shirt
Gateshead Thunder emblem Gateshead Thunder logo.png
Gateshead Thunder emblem
YearsKit ManufacturerMain Shirt Sponsor
1999AvecNorthern Electric & Gas
2004-2005 Halbro Halbro
2006 Nike none
2010 XBlades GMC Transport Limited
2011-2012 Puma
2013StagJack Coupe and Sons
2014 Gateshead College
2016 Errea Greene King IPA
2017 ISC PTM Group
2018-2019Tyne Metropolitan College
2020- Macron

2022 squad

Newcastle Thunder 2022 Squad
First team squadCoaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 16 March 2021
Source(s): 2021 Squad Numbers

2023 transfers


PlayerClubContract lengthDate
Rhys Clark Workington Town 1 YearOctober 2022 [14]
Flag of New Zealand.svg Nikau Williams Whitehaven R.L.F.C. 1 YearOctober 2022 [15]


PlayerClubContract lengthDate
Flag of Tonga.svg Ukuma Ta'ai York City Knights 2 YearsSeptember 2022 [16]
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Jesse Dee York City Knights 2 YearsSeptember 2022 [17]
Josh Eaves Whitehaven R.L.F.C. 1 YearSeptember 2022 [18]


Notable former players

Past coaches

Also see Category:Newcastle Thunder coaches


Correct to September 2017 [19]

Player records

Team records

98-6 v. Canberra colours.svg West Wales (at Kingston Park Stadium, 23 September 2018)
132-0 v. Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool (at Memorial Stadium, 16 May 2010)

Attendance records

6,631 v. Bullscolours.svg Bradford (at Gateshead International Stadium, 16 May 1999)


(As Gthundercolours.svg Gateshead Thunder)
League Challenge Cup Other competitions
2001 Northern Ford Premiership 282026346990417thDid not qualifyR4
2002 Northern Ford Premiership 2701263381108118thDid not qualifyR3
2003 National League Two 18311436566379thDid not qualifyR3
2004 National League Two 181017298715210thDid not qualifyR3
2005 National League Two 18819516508176thLost in Elimination PlayoffsR3
2006 National League Two 2211011547540227thLost in Elimination PlayoffsR3
2007 National League Two 2260163816922111thDid not qualifyR4
2008 National League Two 221903767415591stN/A [lower-alpha 1] R3
2009 Championship 209294610657327th [lower-alpha 2] Did not qualifyQF
2010 Championship 1 2010192361232-211thDid not qualifyR3
2011 Championship 1 2001192681094210thDid not qualifyR4
2012 Championship 1 181017276824510thDid not qualifyR4
2013 Championship 1 164111356542207thDid not qualifyR3
2014 Championship 1 201190615576364thLost in Semi FinalR3
(As Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle Thunder)
League Challenge Cup Other competitions
2015 Championship 1 2211110555552228thDid not qualifyR4
2016 League 1 14716404368159thWon in Shield FinalR3
2017 League 1 15906459328186thFifth in Super 8sR4
2018 League 1 2614012841520288thDid not qualifyR4
2019 League 1 201415741364293rdLost in Play-off FinalR4 1895 Cup R2
2020 League 1 League abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic [lower-alpha 3] R6
2021 Championship 2071124316271511thDid not qualifyR3 [lower-alpha 4] 1895 Cup R1
2022 Championship 2771195598771512thDid not qualifyR4


Winners (1): 2008
Winners (1): 2016


Newcastle Thunder run player development programmes for U12 through to U16's

Thunder also run a U16 Scholarship side and an U19 Academy side that play in the Super League U19's structure

The 2018 u16 team has seen wins against London Broncos, Widnes Vikings and Leeds Rhinos and the u19's picking up an early season win against Wakefield Trinity


  1. League leaders do more enter third division playoffs
  2. Enforced Relegation due to Salary Cap Breach
  3. Newcastle were promoted by an independent panel following Toronto Wolfpack's expulsion. [20]
  4. Officially round 1 due to the competitions temporary restructure in 2021.

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  2. "2001 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  3. "2002 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  4. "2003 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  5. "2005 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  6. "2006 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  7. "Newcastle Thunder". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  8. "McCormack joy as Thunder survive". BBC Sport. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  9. "Gateshead rescue bid gathers pace". BBC Sport. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  10. "Newcastle Thunder to soar under new ownership, predicts Brian Carney". Evening Chronicle. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  11. "Newcastle Thunder: Gateshead rugby league side relocates". BBC Sport. BBC. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  12. "Sunday 18th September 2016 Match Report". Rugby Football League. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  13. "Thunder awarded Championship place". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  14. "Rhys Clark signs for Newcastle Thunder". Newcastle Thunder. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  15. "Nikau Williams signs for Newcastle Thunder". Newcastle Thunder. 17 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  16. "Ukuma Ta'ai finds new club after leaving Newcastle". Love Rugby League. 28 September 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  17. "York City Knights bring in Australian centre for 2023". Love Rugby League. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  18. "Trio sign for 2023". Whitehaven RLFC. 24 September 2022. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  19. "Records and Honours". Newcastle Thunder. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  20. "Newcastle Thunder to join Betfred Championship in 2021". 10 December 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.