Newcastle appoint experienced Australian as new head coach

Newcastle Thunder have announced that  Michael Mantelli will be the club’s new head coach after agreeing a two year contract ahead of the 2016 Kingstone Press League 1 season.

A vastly experienced coach, Mantelli’s credentials include over eight years with the Canberra Raiders as assistant and then head coach of their National Youth Competition (U20) side, alongside international experience from the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Assistant coach with the Italian national team during the tournament in England and Wales, Mantelli was part of the back room team that engineered victory over Wales and a draw against Scotland in the competitive games and a hugely impressive win against a full strength England side in the warm ups.

Mantelli also brings with him a wealth of experience from his playing days, which included representing Italy at the emerging nations World Cup.

Beginning his tenure with immediate effect, Mantelli, who has relocated to the North East, will now be focused on completing the recruitment of the 2016 Thunder squad, with a number of players to be announced alongside those who have already committed to the club for next year.

Newcastle Thunder Chairman Bill Midgely said: “I’m delighted to welcome Michael on board as Thunder head coach, he is a vastly experienced coach whose background is one of achieving success at various levels both as a player and as a coach.”

“We were genuinely impressed by the quality of all the candidates who applied for the role, and I’d like to thank everyone who applied, but with Michael in the process of relocating to the North East, we felt having a locally based coach would be a distinct advantage for the club.”

Mantelli said: “On moving to the UK and seeing the vacancy at Thunder, the opportunity to work at a club with first class facilities was interesting and I am thrilled to have been appointed.”

“The club is one that has shown some promise and there is definitely something to build on and work on with the right mix of players, who want to be here and contribute.”

Explaining how his Newcastle Thunder will play, Mantelli added “We’ll play a disciplined but structured standard, they will use the ball outside their 40 and will be allowed to play and in between their own 40 and try line they will be expected to be very clean and very disciplined about what they do.”