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Former Super League starlets join Thunder for 2013

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Gateshead Thunder are proud to announce the signing of former Hull FC first team player Lewis Brown and former Hull KR playmaker Benn Hardcastle for the 2013 season.

Happy at both stand-off or loose forward, Brown's impressive 2011 season with the Hull FC under-18s and under-20s was rewarded with a full-time contract at the Black and Whites for 2012 season.

Head Coach Kevin Neighbour said of the signing:

"I have spoken to Lee Radford a number of times about Lewis, and having met him and his family and seen him play several times; I am delighted that he has agreed to sign for 2013."

"He has a skill set that will serve him well in Championship 1 next season as he is equally suited to being a ball carrier or playmaker."

Brown said:

"I feel that I have a point to prove and I can feel I can do this with Gateshead Thunder by the way that the club has set itself for the future."

"I believe in what Kevin and the club is trying to do and it is an exciting time to be part of both this competition and Thunder."

"I'm looking forward to the season ahead, meeting my new team mates and the fans."

Neighbour started his 2013 signing spree with the capture of the high rated halfback Benn Hardcastle.

The former Hull KR, Sheffield and York pivot has just come back from a knee reconstruction which he has been testing at his home club Hull Dockers.

After several weeks of discussion, Neighbour was delighted when he got the call from Benn to say he would sign for Gateshead Thunder.

Kevin said of his first new signing of 2013:

"Benn has played at the highest level and understands what it takes to be a professional."

"Our physios put Benn through his paces and he is physically fit and cannot wait to play for us".

Hardcastle said of becoming Thunder's first major signing for 2013:

"I'm delighted to join a team that I have kept an eye for from afar. I have a few friends that have played at Gateshead and I was up to watch at the end of the season."

"Gateshead is a fighting club that has survived some tough financial and playing times and come in for some criticism, but going forward I believe in what Kevin and the Club want to do."

"Nobody knows what 2013 holds and I for one believe in Thunder being a team that will turn heads once again."

Benn will complete the season with Hull Dockers and will come into pre-season match fit and raring to go.

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Good luck to the Thunder for next season. CC1 is going to be interesting as the Crusaders, Skolars, Thunder as well as Oldham and Rochdale are all in the mix with many strengthening like the Thunder and who knows what surprises there will be from the three new clubs.

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