Denis Betts has made a return to rugby league after being appointed as Newcastle’s director of rugby for the rest of the season.
The former Wigan Warriors and Widnes Vikings head coach and England Rugby League assistant coach joins Thunder with immediate effect and will take charge of all first-team duties.
Betts’ role will see him oversee the coaching, recruitment and team selection at the Kingston Park. He will work with the current coaching team and playing squad as Newcastle aim to gain promotion to the Championship.
On the appointment of Betts, Thunder chairman Mick Hogan said: “Without doubt we have secured the services of one of the top British coaches within the sport.
“As well as being a champion international player Denis has proven himself to be a coach that can excel at both Super League and international level.
“It is a real coup for the club to have Denis lead the Thunder for the remainder of this season. We are hopeful that this will develop into a longer-term appointment but our initial focus remains on securing promotion in 2019.
“He will undertake a quick but thorough assessment of where our current coaching and playing strengths lie, knowing that he has the ability to add to his staff or the squad should that be required.”
On linking up with Newcastle, Betts commented: “I’m delighted to have joined such an ambitious club as Newcastle Thunder.
“The club has tremendous plans for the future together with great facilities and a strong academy set up.
“Everyone understands what the priority is this season and I will be working hard with the players, coaches and support staff to ensure we hit those targets.”