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The Newcastle Thunder is a professional rugby league club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Founded in 1999 as Gateshead Thunder after the merger of the original Gateshead Thunder with Hull F.C. the club played in the Championship and League 1 competitions, the second and third tier of rugby league in the United Kingdom. In 2015 the club changed its name to Newcastle Thunder. They played their home matches at Kingston Park, also home to rugby union side Newcastle Falcons.
|Full name||Newcastle Thunder Rugby League Football Club|
(as Gateshead Thunder)
|2023 season||14th (relegated)|
|Challenge Cups||Quarter finalists (2009)|
|League 1||1 (2008)|
|Most capped||234 – Joe Brown|
|Highest points scorer||449 – Benn Hardcastle|
The club was formerly known as Gateshead Thunder, and played their home games at Gateshead International Stadium in Gateshead. The club was formed by the Thunder 2000 working group, supporters of the original Gateshead Thunder after that organisation made the decision to merge with Hull Sharks at the end of the 1999 season. 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.
Gateshead continued to struggle in the following season, finishing bottom of the league in 2002. 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. 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. The club again finished seventh in 2006, but went on to lose 46–18 to Featherstone Rovers in the play-offs.
In 2008 the club won its first silverware, finishing the season as League 1 champions. As champions, the club were promoted to the Championship, and avoided on-field relegation by finishing seventh under coach Steve McCormack  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.
Gateshead Thunder were taken over by the owners of rugby union side Newcastle Falcons in 2015. The club was rebranded as Newcastle Thunder and applied for permission to use Kingston Park in Newcastle as their home ground.
On 10 December 2020 Thunder were promoted to the Championship by a committee to replace Leigh who were, in turn, promoted to Super League to replace Toronto Wolfpack, who went out of business. Newcastle began playing in the 2021 Championship season.
For the 2022 season, Newcastle announced they were adopting the full time professional model in order to aid promotion Super League. This lasted for one year with the club reverting back to part time semi professional status for 2023.
Following the 2023 RFL Championship season, Newcastle were relegated to League One after winning five of 27 matches. On 13 October 2023, the club announced that they had withdrawn from League One for the 2024 season. A club statement said "Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19, combined with the low levels of regional growth and development in the game, means it just isn't feasible to continue." An attempt to revive the club was immediately launched under former chairman, Keith Christie. Despite an application to rejoin the league not having been accepted by the RFL, the RFL did include the club in the fixture lists for the 1895 Cup and the 2024 League One season when these were announced at the start of December 2023.
Kit manufacturers and sponsors edit
|Years||Kit Manufacturer||Main Shirt Sponsor|
|1999||Avec||Northern Electric & Gas|
|2010||XBlades||GMC Transport Limited|
|2013||Stag||Jack Coupe and Sons|
|2016||Errea||Greene King IPA|
|2018–2019||Tyne Metropolitan College|
Notable former players edit
(in alphabetical order)
- Russell Aitken
- Ryan Bailey
- Matt Barron
- David Bates
- Luke Branighan
- Tabua Cakacaka
- Sam Crowther
- Simon Donaghy
- Scott Dyson
- Ian Dickinson-Hall
- Paul Franze
- Ashley Gibson
- Andrew Henderson
- Kris Kahler
- Wade Liddell
- David Mycoe
- Kevin Neighbour
- Chris Parker
- Damien Reid
- Stewart Sanderson
- Netani Suka
- Kerrod Walters
- Nick Youngquest
Past coaches edit
Also see Category:Newcastle Thunder coaches
- Correct to September 2017 
Player records edit
- Most tries in a match: 5 by Andy Walker vs London Skolars 22 June 2003
- Most points in a season: 246 by Chris Birch, 2005
- Most career tries: 64 by Kevin Neighbour, 2001–2013
- Most career goals: 137 by Paul Thorman, 2001–2004
- Most career points: 365 by Paul Thorman, 2001–2004
Team records edit
- Biggest win:
- Biggest defeat:
- 132-0 v. Blackpool (at Memorial Stadium, 16 May 2010)
Attendance records edit
- Highest all-time attendance:
(As Gateshead Thunder)
|League||Challenge Cup||Other competitions|
|2001||Northern Ford Premiership||28||2||0||26||346||990||4||17th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2002||Northern Ford Premiership||27||0||1||26||338||1108||1||18th||Did not qualify||R3|
|2003||National League Two||18||3||1||14||365||663||7||9th||Did not qualify||R3|
|2004||National League Two||18||1||0||17||298||715||2||10th||Did not qualify||R3|
|2005||National League Two||18||8||1||9||516||508||17||6th||Lost in elimination playoffs||R3|
|2006||National League Two||22||11||0||11||547||540||22||7th||Lost in elimination playoffs||R3|
|2007||National League Two||22||6||0||16||381||692||21||11th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2008||National League Two||22||19||0||3||767||415||59||1st||N/A[a]||R3|
|2009||Championship||20||9||2||9||4610||657||32||7th[b]||Did not qualify||QF|
|2010||Championship 1||20||1||0||19||236||1232||-2||11th||Did not qualify||R3|
|2011||Championship 1||20||0||1||19||268||1094||2||10th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2012||Championship 1||18||1||0||17||276||824||5||10th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2013||Championship 1||16||4||1||11||356||542||20||7th||Did not qualify||R3|
|2014||Championship 1||20||11||9||0||615||576||36||4th||Lost in semi-final||R3|
(As Newcastle Thunder)
|League||Challenge Cup||Other competitions|
|2015||Championship 1||22||11||11||0||555||552||22||8th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2016||League 1||14||7||1||6||404||368||15||9th||Won in Shield Final||R3|
|2017||League 1||15||9||0||6||459||328||18||6th||Fifth in Super 8s||R4|
|2018||League 1||26||14||0||12||841||520||28||8th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2019||League 1||20||14||1||5||741||364||29||3rd||Lost in play-off final||R4||1895 Cup||R2|
|2020||League 1||League abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic||[c]||R6|
|2021||Championship||20||7||1||12||431||627||15||11th||Did not qualify||R3[d]||1895 Cup||R1|
|2022||Championship||27||7||1||19||559||877||15||12th||Did not qualify||R4|
|2023||Championship||25||4||1||20||361||862||9||14th||Did not qualify||R5|
- Winners (1): 2008
- Promotion(1): 2020
- Winners (1): 2016
- Promotion(1): 2020
- "Club History". Newcastle Thunder. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "2001 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "2002 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "2003 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "2005 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "2006 Season". Cherry & White (RLFans). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Newcastle Thunder". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "McCormack joy as Thunder survive". BBC Sport. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- "Gateshead rescue bid gathers pace". BBC Sport. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- "Newcastle Thunder to soar under new ownership, predicts Brian Carney". Evening Chronicle. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
- "Newcastle Thunder: Gateshead rugby league side relocates". BBC Sport. BBC. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "Sunday 18th September 2016 Match Report". Rugby Football League. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Thunder awarded Championship place". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- "Championship relegation confirmed following latest defeat to promotion hopefuls Featherstone Rovers". www.loverugbyleague.com. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
- "Newcastle Thunder: Relegated Championship rugby league team pull out of 2024 season". BBC Sport. 13 October 2023. Retrieved 13 October 2023.
- "Thunder edging nearer to relaunch". Rugby Leaguer & League Express. No. 3404. 6 November 2023. p. 3.
- Walker, Callum (3 December 2023). "Newcastle Thunder still not accepted by RFL for 2024 despite inclusion in 1895 Cup and League One fixtures". Total Rugby League. Retrieved 3 December 2023.
- "Records and Honours". Newcastle Thunder. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Newcastle Thunder to join Betfred Championship in 2021". www.rugby-league.com. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.