Newcastle sack coach Jason Payne

Newcastle have relinquished Jason Payne of his head coaching role with immediate effect just two games into the season.

Thunder lost their first two games of the season to Doncaster and Coventry Bears, and the club will now undertake a review of its coaching structure after releasing Payne.

He will take a three-month break from all duties with the club, with his future involvement to be discussed at the end of his hiatus.

Payne’s replacement is expected to be announced in March.

On the sacking of Payne, Thunder chairman Mick Hogan commented: “We have requested that Jason relinquishes control of the head coach position with immediate effect.

“After further investment in the 2019 squad, we have not started the season as we had hoped and in what is a relatively short campaign, we have had to act decisively in the best interests of the club.

“Jason is a club legend, having been involved with Thunder for almost 12 years and serving it well throughout that time. We will discuss his future involvement after his three-month break.

“We’d like to thank Jason for all his efforts and commitment and it is our sincere hope that he will continue to be a part of Newcastle Thunder going forward.”

Thunder’s assistant coach, Tim Rumford and academy manager, Michael Heap, will be in caretaker charge of the team for this weekend’s trip to London Skolars.