Rugby League


25 Jan 2023

2023 Betfred Championship Preview | Newcastle Thunder

2023 Betfred Championship Preview | Newcastle Thunder

Newcastle Thunder ended the 2022 season in 12th place in the Betfred Championship table, finishing above the relegated Dewsbury Rams and Workington Town.

A disappointing run of results saw Thunder boss Eamon O’Carroll resign from his role in June of last year, with then Director of Rugby Denis Betts stepping in as Interim Head Coach until the end of the season.

Betts did manage to steer the side to Championship survival, but in August 2022, Chairman Keith Christie announced that the club would be reverting to part-time status from the start of the 2023 season.

Whilst 2022 didn’t go quite to plan, there is every chance 2023 will prove to be a better year for everyone at Kingston Park.

Thunder have been very shrewd with their on and off-field recruitment during the off-season; first luring the highly rated Chris Thorman away from Workington to join his hometown club as Head Coach, before bolstering their playing squad with the likes of Rhys Clark, Nikau Williams, Alex Young, Rob Tuliatu and Jake Lightowler.

Thorman, who guided previous club Workington to the Betfred League One title two years ago, will be looking to introduce a fresh playing style to the club, and if his side buy into this, there’s no reason they can’t push towards the upper half of the table this season.

Transfers In:

  • Rhys Clark (Workington Town)
  • Nikau Williams (Whitehaven)
  • Rob Tuliatu (London Broncos)
  • Ethan Lawther (Unattached)
  • Marcus Walker (Hull FC)
  • Curtis Davies (Workington Town)
  • Alex Young (Workington Town)
  • Daniel Okoro (Hull KR)
  • Connor Moore (Hull KR)
  • Alex Clegg (Workington Town)
  • Jake Lightowler (Workington Town)
  • Mac Walsh (Unattached)
  • Jack Potter (Hull KR - 1 month loan)


Transfers Out:

  • Oliver Roberts (Sheffield Eagles)
  • Ukuma Ta'ai (York City Knights)
  • Jesse Dee (York City Knights)
  • Josh Eaves (Swinton Lions)
  • Ellis Robson (Keighley Cougars)
  • Brad Day (Featherstone Rovers)
  • Josh Woods (Batley Bulldogs)
  • Jake Shorrocks (Toulouse Olympique)
  • Dan Coates (Midlands Hurricanes)
  • Pat Moran (SO Avignon)
  • Craig Mullen (Retired)
  • Isaac Nokes (Ipswich Jets)
  • Nathan Wilde (Leigh Leopards)


One to watch:

Exciting playmaker Nikau Williams has arrived from fellow Championship club Whitehaven on a one-year contract and will look to be a key player for Newcastle this season.

The 22-year-old halfback was an ever-present for Haven in 2022, kicking 47 goals and scoring nine tries to lead the club to a respectable 10th place finish.

If Williams is given a platform to perform by Thunder’s pack, there is no doubt that he will deliver some special moments throughout 2023.