Payne to lead Thunder

James Gordon

Prop Jason Payne will once again lead Gateshead in 2012, as they prepare for their season opener against Doncaster in the Northern Rail Cup on Wednesday.

Payne, 23, is the longest serving player in the Thunder squad, and was part of the 2008 National League 2 winning side.

He captained Thunder last season, and head coach Kevin Neighbour has decided to stick with the former Castleford front rower as his captain again this term.

He told the club’s official website: “Jason Payne will be captain for the year. However there are a number of leaders developing within the squad.

“This will take a lot of pressure off Jason during games, as the leadership will be shared amongst the others identified as showing the qualities in taking the team forward.”

The game against Doncaster, at the Gateshead International Stadium, fell victim to the freezing weather conditions on Sunday, on a weekend that saw only four Northern Rail Cup ties go ahead.