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Three more in at Thunder for 2013

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Dave Sheldon (left) with Thunder Head Coach Kevin Neighbour

Gateshead Thunder have continued their recruitment drive ahead of the 2013 season by completing the signings of RU converts David Sheldon and Dominic Heap and ex Hull KR winger Nick Johnson.

6'8 19st Sheldon arrives from Rugby Union side Blaydon and has been on Head Coach Kevin Neighbour's radar for some time and has now commited his services for the 2013 season.

Gateshead born Sheldon admitted he cannot wait to join his new team-mates for pre-season and pulling on the Thunder shirt for the first time;

"I am looking forward to this opportunity, Thunder are a team I have kept an eye on as a local club and now I have an opportunity to play for them.

"I have been a Blaydon player all my life so deciding to leave them has been a tough decision, I spoke to the club and they offered their blessing to go and give a try. I am very grateful for everything I have gained from being at Blaydon and they were a huge part of my life for so long.

"I cannot wait to join my new team for pre-season and pulling on the Thunder Shirt for the first time".

Head Coach Kevin Neighbour has already seen something in David that he likes;

"Dave is an honest person who really had to dig deep to leave Blaydon, something I think has been a brave move, he is a natural sports man and has the opportunity to really make a name for himself at the club.

"We are considering him for the forwards as his size would lend its self to it, but he has bags of pace and size so we will have to look at what is best for him and us , we have a few months before the start of the season so there is plenty time before we start to get him settled in somewhere".

Fellow new boy Dominic Heap is another Rugby Union convert having played for England Colleges.

Heap recently moved to the area from Devon to start a new business and the powerful centre has been offered a playing opportunity at Thunder for 2013 season and will make a great addition to the set up.

Head Coach Kevin Neighbour said after the signing;

"We have signed Dom today and I think he will surprise people. He is an athlete who has all the attributes to do well and his history in representative 7's and playing England Colleges gives his playing CV credit".

Thunder have also pulled off a major coup ahead of next season by completing the signing of former Super League star Nick Johnson.

22 year-old Johnson arrives in the North-East having previously been on the books at Hull KR.

The winger has been training with the Hull KR first team for the past 3 years and was awarded his first professional contract in

2012 having impressed for the clubs academy side, where he had been a regular try scorer.

Johnson only started playing the sport at the age of 15, and toured Australia with the Great Britain Community Lions in 2010 and is delighted to sign for Thunder;

"I am delighted to sign for Gateshead Thunder. After speaking to Kevin and listening to him about next season and the team he has already started to put together it looks like a great blend of experience and youth.

"Ideally I will move to the North East so I can give everything possible to impress next season."

Head Coach Kevin Neighbour is delighted with the signing;

"We have a Super League player coming to the North East which speaks volumes about next season, we really want to make a difference an Nick has played at the Highest level in the country. What else can I say?"

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yes the way the club is being run is fantastic, this looks like being best pre-season in a long time, been a really tough 3 seasons though we can still sign some really good players which is great and the crowds will steadily come back again, im really excited for new season after getting hammered alot over last few seasons finnaly things looking good again :D cmon thunder! cmon thunder!!

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