Eamon O’Carroll getting his teeth stuck into life as a head coach

Drew Darbyshire

Eamon O’Carroll says he jumped at the opportunity to become head coach of ambitious Championship side Newcastle Thunder.

The 33-year-old is one of the youngest head coaches in world rugby right now after being appointed by Newcastle last November on a two-year deal.

READ: Why Newcastle can create the blueprint for expansion success

O’Carroll’s coaching career began at Widnes under Denis Betts, who is now director of rugby at Thunder. He has since spent two years as assistant to Steve McNamara at Catalans Dragons.

The former Ireland international is loving his role with Thunder right now and can’t wait for the Championship season to begin.

O’Carroll told The Final Hooter podcast: “I feel like my coaching career has been fairly short but I’ve gained a lot of experience but I’m really happy to get in there.

“It is a completely different dynamic when you are a head coach compared to being an assistant. You have to look at everything with a broader perspective. It’s not just what you do on the training field, it is building relationships off it as well which I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve dived into it with both feet but I’m loving it.

“We’ve made a couple of statements with the recruitment we’ve done but when I spoke to Denis about some of the things that we are doing off the field, like the fact we’ve got an academy gives us a real good platform to be successful and that really impressed me.

“I knew they weren’t just words and that there was some substance behind what they were saying so I had no hesitation in coming to Newcastle.”

Newcastle have enjoyed an impressive recruitment drive ahead of their season in the Championship, with the likes of Jake Shorrocks, Sam Wilde, Josh Woods and Ukuma Ta’ai coming to Kingston Park in 2021.

Betts said: “There is a lot of Super League experience in there. We’ve a pretty young group and the young ambition that is in the group is clear to see.

“The lads are looking for a home, they are looking to put a stamp on their team.

“Our target in our recruitment was about having lads who had great character, lots of ambition and a desire to make something of their careers.”

ALSO READ: Newcastle Thunder aiming to win Super League by 2030

Subscribe to The Final Hooter on Apple Podcasts and get involved with the free-to-play Fantasy Rugby League 2021.

Rugby League Nostalgia is here! Get involved with Love Rugby League’s new group on Facebook to share all your rugby league nostalgia and celebrate the rich heritage of our sport.