1895 Cup Group Three Preview: Newcastle Thunder, Wakefield Trinity, York Knights

Newcastle Thunder
Wakefield Trinity
York Knights

WAKEFIELD TRINITY will be out to make a statement in this year’s 1895 Cup and can realistically have high hopes of collecting the trophy at Wembley in June. 

Backed by new owner Matthew Ellis and with over 5,000 season tickets sold, Wakefield will likely be back with a bang in 2024. 

Following their first-ever relegation from Super League, Wakefield acted quickly to put former Castleford and Warrington coach Daryl Powell at the helm, and bolstered their ranks with many new recruits, including  Jermaine McGillvary, Iain Thornley, Lachlan Walmsley, Toby Boothroyd, Luke Bain and Caleb Uele. 

On-field success will further aid their IMG grading, which looks set to seal an immediate return to Super League, so they can use this competition, and the rest of the season, as a building year for that step back up. 

Expect them to win both their group games, perhaps with some ease.


Newcastle hosting York is one to keep an eye on. York came out victorious on all three occasions the sides met last season, but all three games were hard-fought battles so it is expected this match up will be cut from the same cloth. 

Hopefully Thunder’s off-field issues won’t impact their on-field performances with the club’s uncertain future dominating most headlines over the past few months. 

Club chairman Keith Christie has fought hard to get Thunder to the starting line and a statement performance against York would be a great way to kick off their 1895 Cup campaign.


One man that could end Newcastle’s dream is their former scrum-half Nikau Williams who signed with York at the end of last season.

The Kiwi playmaker played a key role in Whitehaven’s success in 2021 before joining the Thunder. 

He’ll be up for a big game against his former club.

First published in Rugby League World magazine, Issue 493 (February 2024)

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