1st December 2020, 12:50 | thunder

Newcastle announce Eamon O'Carroll as Head Coach

Newcastle announce Eamon O'Carroll as Head Coach

Newcastle Thunder have announced that Eamon O’Carroll will become the club’s Head Coach ahead of the 2021 season.

O’Carroll takes the reins on a two-year deal while Director of Rugby Denis Betts has also agreed a deal which will keep him at Kingston Park through to the end of the 2022 season.

The former Ireland International joins Newcastle from Catalans Dragons where he has been Assistant Coach since November 2018, under the tutelage of Steve McNamara. 

O’Carroll featured in two Rugby League World Cups with Ireland whilst also representing Widnes Vikings, Hull FC and Wigan Warriors in the Betfred Super League. 

The 33-year-old said: “I’m really looking forward to starting with Thunder. It’s all a bit manic at the moment getting packed up and ready to come back over to England, but I’m excited and want to meet everyone at the club as soon as possible. 

“Even before speaking to Denis I was aware of Thunder’s aspirations, as I think most people in the game are and I’m excited to be part of that.

“I’m particularly interested in working with the academy and bringing local lads into the first team, as seeing players develop is a great satisfaction.

“It’s important to get to know people on a personal level to get the best from them. At the Dragons, that was important dealing with players and different cultures. 

“At Thunder I’m going to be working with a mix of players, some of whom have been pros and full-time for the last ten years and some who work full-time and then come to training, so I’ll adapt to get the best from everyone.

“As a coach, I focus on the fundamentals of the game. I really value the importance of defence, but Thunder are a team of skilful players and a lot of ability and I’m not looking to come in and take anything away. 

“Of course, I’m going to bring some things in, but I’m looking forward to this being a collective effort.” 

On extending his own deal, Betts said: “Since joining Thunder I’ve had a fire in my belly and a feeling for Rugby League that I’d not had in a while.

“I’m part of something special with a great owner and chairman, a staff who have a real love for the game and a drive to make the club as successful as it can be.

“That drive and desire is infectious and every time I am at Kingston Park there is nothing that disappoints. It’s fantastic to see the players grow and what we are doing to put ourselves in position to achieve our final ambitions.” 

Newcastle Chairman, Mick Hogan, added: “We’re delighted to have appointed Eamon as our new head coach. He is an exciting individual who has already shown his skill and ability in getting the best from people at Widnes and at the Dragons.

“He will be an excellent fit for the club and in helping us achieve our ambitions.

“I’m equally happy that Denis has agreed a new two-year contract at the same time. Since he came in back in March 2019, he has made a significant contribution in the club's development, including the setting of our target to be Super League champions by 2030.

“A lot of great work has already been done and I’m eager to see what our quality coaching team, talented players and committed off-field staff will achieve together.”