Chris Thorman announced as new Newcastle Thunder coach

James Gordon
Championship 2023 squad numbers

Newcastle Thunder have appointed Chris Thorman as their new head coach, following their difficult end to the season.

The ambitious north east club revealed they would be reverting back to a part-time basis for 2023, which led to the departure of director of rugby Denis Betts.

Head coach Eamon O’Carroll had previously left to take up a role with Catalans, and that void is now filled by Thorman who left Workington at the end of the season.

Despite being a Geordie, Thorman has never played or coached Thunder, though brother Neil was part of Gateshead’s championship winning National League 2 side in 2008.

Chris said: “As a local lad I have always had a soft spot for the club, and it feels like now is the right time to come home and be part of something that a lot of people automatically assume I’ve been before.

“I am joining at a time where there is a fantastic opportunity to come in and be part of refreshing the club’s identity and creating something that will see players, staff and fans all band together and care about.

“There is a lot of work to be done but I know from conversations I have already had with the powers that be that we are going to have a good squad for the 2023 season and that we can all look forward to that kicking off early in the new year.”

Positives and negatives

Newcastle went full-time for 2022, but the reversal of this decision has led to a mass exodus of players with some already signing elsewhere.

The club has previously been big and bold about its ambitions to not only reach Super League, but win it.

This week’s news from IMG with their recommendations for rugby league is likely to be a boost to the club.

Community growth in the north east has been prevalent in recent years, with the Magic Weekend becoming synonymous with St James’ Park in Newcastle.

Although the future of Magic Weekend is doomed, England will take play their opening World Cup game there against Samoa next month, with Thunder’s Kingston Park also hosting games.

Thunder chair Keith Christie added: “I am delighted that Chris has agreed to join the club as our new head coach, and I am looking forward to working with him.

“As one of only a handful of Geordies to play Super League and as far as I know the only one to play NRL, he has vast experience as a player that he is now using as a highly regarded coach.

“I am excited by his vision and from the conversations we have already had, I think he is going to help us create a club that is at the heart of the support in the region.”

IN DEPTH: Chris Thorman: The Geordie that went to the NRL