Newcastle appoint new Head Coach

Eamon O’Carroll will join Denis Betts on the Newcastle Thunder coaching staff in 2021 as he takes up the club’s head coach reins on a two-year contract.

Director of rugby Denis Betts has himself agreed a new deal at Kingston Park Stadium for the same duration through to the end of the 2022 season.

A former Ireland international, O’Carroll arrives on Tyneside from Super League’s Catalan Dragons, where he has been assistant coach to Steve McNamara since November 2018.

The 33-year-old’s coaching career began at Widnes in 2017 as assistant to Betts, when injury forced him to retire after playing 149 Super League games for the Vikings, Hull FC and Wigan Warriors.

Reacting to the news, he said: “I’m really looking forward to starting with Thunder. It’s all a bit manic at the moment getting packed up and ready to come back over to England, but I’m excited and want to meet everyone at the club as soon as possible.

“Even before speaking to Denis I was aware of Thunder’s aspirations, as I think most people in the game are and I’m excited to be part of that.

“I’m particularly interested in working with the academy and bringing local lads into the first team, as seeing players develop is a great satisfaction.”

Reflecting on his own new deal, Betts added: “Since joining Thunder I’ve had a fire in my belly and a feeling for rugby league that I’d not had in a while.

“I’m part of something special with a great owner and chairman, a staff who have a real love for the game and a drive to make the club as successful as it can be.

“That drive and desire is infectious and every time I am at Kingston Park there is nothing that disappoints. It’s fantastic to see the players grow and what we are doing to put ourselves in position to achieve our final ambitions.”

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