31st March 2019, 20:36 | league_1

Finnigan named Newcastle head coach

Finnigan named Newcastle head coach

Former Ireland international Simon Finnigan has left his role as assistant coach with Toronto Wolfpack to become head coach of Betfred League 1 club Newcastle Thunder.

Finnigan, 37, who had been with the Wolfpack since their formation in 2016, is the first appointment of Newcastle’s new director of rugby Denis Betts, who coached him during his time in charge of Widnes Vikings.

Betts said: “I’ve spoken to several people and that has shown that Simon is an ideal fit for Thunder both in terms of where we are at and the ambitions that we have as a club.

“He has a great deal of experience in both the Championship and League 1 and has earned a lot of credibility in his time with Toronto, working with a lot of good players in that time.

“He has played a leading role in that set-up and wants to step up to become a head coach and that is an opportunity we can give him in an environment with ambitions that match his own.” 

Finnigan, who made over 230 first-team appearances across Super League and the Championship, began his coaching career at Leigh after hanging up his boots in 2014.

“I would like to thank (Toronto director of rugby) Brian (Noble) and (owner) David (Argyle) for releasing me from my contract with the Wolfpack,” he said.

“Being part of the Wolfpack family from the very beginning has been a privilege and honour for me and I’m very grateful for everything the club has done for me.”