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Newcastle Thunder Confirm 2022 Full-Time Status


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Newcastle Thunder will embark on a new era in a month’s time when the club’s first full-time squad since 1999 assembles for pre-season.

Having secured Betfred Championship rugby for 2022, the club are switching to a full-time environment for the new campaign with head coach Eamon O’Carroll eagerly awaiting the change.

Coming from Catalans Dragons to take the Thunder reins at the start of the year, the previous part-time regime presented O’ Carroll with challenges that he is pleased that he will no longer have to face and has him looking forward to November 1.  

Reflecting on those challenges O'Carroll said: “The biggest shock was the lack of time you get with squad. We were training two times a week, working with players who were coming to training from full time jobs and also who were travelling over two hours to training, all of which had to be taken into account.

“Having so little time together meant you had to prioritise what was most important in trying to make the team better. In a full-time environment, you get to cover most things but in part time you can’t, you have to choose.

“Holding my hands up, I probably got that wrong at some points throughout the year, but that experience puts us into a great position going into full time.

“As a coach, that experience of part-time has really made me appreciate what going full-time is going to allow us to do and will make us appreciate the time that we will get to spend together in terms of getting better and making sure we’re prepared.”

Thunder gained a glimpse into how more contact time delivers improvements in performance earlier in the summer, as travelling players began to stay over in the north east, reducing their travelling burden and exposing them to life in the city for the first time.

According to O'Carroll, this hybrid approach was a key ingredient in ensuring the club remained in the Betfred Championship and has played a big part in the immediate futures of some of the new-season squad.

O Carroll added “Hybrid was brilliant short term and we had a positive response to it, within the first five weeks of doing it, we won four games.  The biggest thing from it was being able to limit the amount of travel that players were doing and the amount of recover we were able to get into the team gave us the biggest gains.

“We were also able get the lads out into the city and the region and show them around, so going to the beach to do recovery sessions for example I think has had a huge impact.  The lads have seen what a great city it is and experience what it is about.

“Some of the players who we are retaining for next season, who have experienced that have decided to move up here and buy houses and make the north east their home, so there’s a real buy in from the players as a result.”

“Full time offers the opportunity to get better.  We’re going to be able to provide an environment that is going to let the team make the most of the facilities we have.  We’re also going to be able to do little things like giving feedback to get better, which really excites me.”

Some of that excitement comes from the squad that Thunder are assembling for the new season, with signings and re-signings set to be announced in the coming weeks that O’Carroll credits the ambition of owner Semore Kurdi in bringing these players in.

“Going full-time has allowed us to go a recruit a different kind of player than we might have done and has also allowed us to keep hold of players too. We’ve done really well in terms of our recruitment with a good balance to the team.

“We have some youth, some experienced heads, some players who have come through adversity and are ready to cement themselves and be part of a club that they can feel like is theirs and some lads with real x-factor.

“It’s a squad that will excite people when we start to announce them.” 

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1 hour ago, Thunder fan said:

Newcastle Thunder will embark on a new era in a month’s time when the club’s first full-time squad since 1999 assembles for pre-season.

Having secured Betfred Championship rugby for 2022, the club are switching to a full-time environment for the new campaign with head coach Eamon O’Carroll eagerly awaiting the change.

Coming from Catalans Dragons to take the Thunder reins at the start of the year, the previous part-time regime presented O’ Carroll with challenges that he is pleased that he will no longer have to face and has him looking forward to November 1.  

Reflecting on those challenges O'Carroll said: “The biggest shock was the lack of time you get with squad. We were training two times a week, working with players who were coming to training from full time jobs and also who were travelling over two hours to training, all of which had to be taken into account.

“Having so little time together meant you had to prioritise what was most important in trying to make the team better. In a full-time environment, you get to cover most things but in part time you can’t, you have to choose.

“Holding my hands up, I probably got that wrong at some points throughout the year, but that experience puts us into a great position going into full time.

“As a coach, that experience of part-time has really made me appreciate what going full-time is going to allow us to do and will make us appreciate the time that we will get to spend together in terms of getting better and making sure we’re prepared.”

Thunder gained a glimpse into how more contact time delivers improvements in performance earlier in the summer, as travelling players began to stay over in the north east, reducing their travelling burden and exposing them to life in the city for the first time.

According to O'Carroll, this hybrid approach was a key ingredient in ensuring the club remained in the Betfred Championship and has played a big part in the immediate futures of some of the new-season squad.

O Carroll added “Hybrid was brilliant short term and we had a positive response to it, within the first five weeks of doing it, we won four games.  The biggest thing from it was being able to limit the amount of travel that players were doing and the amount of recover we were able to get into the team gave us the biggest gains.

“We were also able get the lads out into the city and the region and show them around, so going to the beach to do recovery sessions for example I think has had a huge impact.  The lads have seen what a great city it is and experience what it is about.

“Some of the players who we are retaining for next season, who have experienced that have decided to move up here and buy houses and make the north east their home, so there’s a real buy in from the players as a result.”

“Full time offers the opportunity to get better.  We’re going to be able to provide an environment that is going to let the team make the most of the facilities we have.  We’re also going to be able to do little things like giving feedback to get better, which really excites me.”

Some of that excitement comes from the squad that Thunder are assembling for the new season, with signings and re-signings set to be announced in the coming weeks that O’Carroll credits the ambition of owner Semore Kurdi in bringing these players in.

“Going full-time has allowed us to go a recruit a different kind of player than we might have done and has also allowed us to keep hold of players too. We’ve done really well in terms of our recruitment with a good balance to the team.

“We have some youth, some experienced heads, some players who have come through adversity and are ready to cement themselves and be part of a club that they can feel like is theirs and some lads with real x-factor.

“It’s a squad that will excite people when we start to announce them.” 

I'm hearing Newcastle are gonna make some big signings for next season 

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45 minutes ago, Bring back GB said:

How can the club go full time on such small crowds?

Not that old chesnut.

Funding comes from several places

One hospitality ticket sold is worth 5 normal admission.

Sponsorship again brings in far more than one off gate receipts.

There is then of course directors loans

Finally just because they are FT doesnt mean they are getting paid a lot of money. Its not as if they are announcing spending to SL salary cap max.

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It will be interesting to see how they go, some teams have had a shot at full time and it has not worked out where as some relegated teams stayed full time and it ended with them getting back in to SL. They should have a better chance of success than London but with the rumoured signings they are going to have a huge spend on their squad next season so it could put them under a bit of pressure in their first season if things don't work out.

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7 hours ago, Bring back GB said:

How can the club go full time on such small crowds?

Because there are grades of full time and not all money comes through the gate?

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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9 hours ago, Bring back GB said:

How can the club go full time on such small crowds?

It can probably be seen as a positive mate that they aren`t relying on gate receipts to pay the players. The inference being that their numbers stack-up so that they can afford to and if they can get a bit more success on the field, like the coach said they had last time when he had more access to the players, they might be able to grow their crowds correspondingly.

Either way it would suggest they have a pretty sound business model that isn`t relying on crowd projections that may or may not eventuate in the short term.

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My reading of this month's RFL's plan is for 18 British professional clubs split over 2 divisions plus what the French heartland can contribute.

Going full time demonstrates that Newcastle wish to be part of this. Geographically this is cute and should be seen as a positive part of their journey.

To digress, I have this opinion, that a better resourced or managed RFL would or should target what may be called "Strategically Important" locations (such as west Cumbria, Salford/Manchester, etc) additionally. 

Newcastle would be on that list. I would hope they continue their sensible progression than an immediate flourish and hubris. I know which I feel is more likely to succeed. 

 

 

 

Edited by idrewthehaggis
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Even as a west cumbrian I can see that Newcastle have the potential to succeed big time within super league in the near future, it's a fine city with great transport links,large university and a catchment area reaching out to Durham, Northumberland, Carlisle and the Scottish borders,indeed if they can replicate the Falcons ru development programme could produce stars of the future. Good luck to them,recruit sensibly and they will be challenging 

 

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I hope that this is the part of Newcastle's long term plan and not something they have been forced into doing in order to finish in the top 8 next season to get into the rumoured 2x10s. Not Newcastles fault and they have to go for it but I hope that this doesn't mess up their progress as a club so far through diverting monies used for developing the amateur game/youth team etc.

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Positive for the club and a bold step . Hopefully they get their rewards , the potential up there in a sports mad area is huge and still largely untapped . Probably be a fair turnover of players with  better players incoming and some players who won’t want to go full time moving on . 

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2 hours ago, idrewthehaggis said:

My reading of this month's RFL's plan is for 18 British professional clubs split over 2 divisions plus what the French heartland can contribute.

Going full time demonstrates that Newcastle wish to be part of this. Geographically this is cute and should be seen as a positive part of their journey.

To digress, I have this opinion, that a better resourced or managed RFL would or should target what may be called "Strategically Important" locations (such as west Cumbria, Salford/Manchester, etc) additionally. 

Newcastle would be on that list. I would hope they continue their sensible progression than an immediate flourish and hubris. I know which I feel is more likely to succeed. 

 

 

 

Are they hoping there will be 18 full time clubs plus French clubs?

Are there any plans for more French clubs to join?

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I am giving the RFL far too much levity by describing two interviews with the semi visible CEO's interviews as "plans."

It may has passed people by, my mild sarcasm of describing it as this "month's plan" given RL's malaise of rapidly changing decisions and structures.

JM I would hope there are places abound for more French clubs, but this is RL. 

Edited by idrewthehaggis
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On 02/10/2021 at 13:12, glossop saint said:

I hope that this is the part of Newcastle's long term plan and not something they have been forced into doing in order to finish in the top 8 next season to get into the rumoured 2x10s. Not Newcastles fault and they have to go for it but I hope that this doesn't mess up their progress as a club so far through diverting monies used for developing the amateur game/youth team etc.

The 2x 10 was rejected by SL and is no different to what we have now but reduced numbers to balance the TV money with the RFL trying to get as much as possible for their clubs.

The TV money distribution is no sorted so this idea is effectively dead.

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