NEWS | Newcastle Thunder match preview

NEWS | Newcastle Thunder match preview

14th September 2019

The Dons travel to take on Newcastle Thunder in the first round of their play-off campaign in Betfred League One.

Richard Horne’s side secured a fourth placed finish with a 30-4 win over Workington Town in the final game of the regular season.

A win at Kingston Park would see the Dons travel to face Oldham at the semi-final stage.

Who’s the gaffer?

Newcastle appointed former Ireland international Simon Finnigan in April after parting company with former head coach Jason Payne just after the start of the 2019 campaign.

Finnigan spent time in the backroom staff at Leigh Centurions and Toronto Wolfpack before moving to Kingston Park. He has made some solid signings in guiding Thunder to a third placed finish in Betfred League One.

Ones to watch

Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e

An experienced player at Championship and League One level, ‘QLT’ made his name in the English game during a five-year spell with Sheffield Eagles, scoring an impressive 183 tries in 218 appearances. He joined big spending Toronto Wolfpack in 2016 and helped them win promotion to the second-tier before two spells with Halifax either side of a stint with Super League side Castleford Tigers. The 34-year-old joined Newcastle earlier this season in what was a major coup for the club.

Nick Newman

Australian half-back Newman was another mid-season recruit after joining Thunder from fellow Betfred League One side Coventry Bears. An attacking playmaker, Newman came through the youth setup in Australia with NRL clubs Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights, before making the move to the UK to join the Bears in 2018. He made an immediate impact in a struggling Bears side and has already been key to Newcastle’s strong end to the 2019 campaign.

Jared Blanke

The powerful Australian prop forward joined the Thunder from French Elite 1 side Lezignan ahead of the 2019 season and has already added some considerable size and power to the Thunder pack. Blanke has plenty of experience from earlier on in his career, including playing in the Queensland Cup before his move to Europe.

Last time out

Newcastle ran out 19-18 winners when the two sides last met at Feathertsone’s LD Nutrition Stadium in June. A Sam Doherty hat-trick had seen the Dons come back from a 12-0 deficit to bring the game level in the final stages, before Nick Newman’s last minute drop-goal sealed the win for the visitors.

NEWS | Newcastle Thunder match preview