Invitational Development Day deemed a success Academy January 3, 2020 Newcastle Thunder’s innovative SPARC player development principles broke new ground in the run up to Christmas 2019, as the club’s U16s academy united with counterparts from three Super League clubs for the first ever Invitational Development Day. Kingston Park Stadium welcomed players and staff from the academy programmes of Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity for games and a series of workshops at an event that aimed to serve as a demonstration of how academies could work together and provide additional development opportunities for players and staff. Alongside the traditional adapted games, where points are awarded for a range of attributes being displayed by players on the field, the development day saw conditioning, contact and handling workshops take place to further enhance the experience for the youngsters in attendance. Well received by those taking part, Academy manager Michael Heap spoke of his satisfaction at the day itself and of his hopes it would serve to supplement some of the great work that is already being done across all levels of the game. Heap said: “It was a really worthwhile day and something that we are definitely looking to continue doing in the future. “The initial feedback from staff, players and parents was very positive. We will now undergo a full review process in which we will seek the opinions of all those involved to gauge how successful different aspects were and how we can further improve in future. “We are really grateful to those that got involved with the day and Newcastle Thunder are looking forward to working with all concerned in future to continue to innovate and provide more opportunities for the development of future players for all levels of the game.” Check out the video above to see the action from the day and hear from those present on their thoughts of the event.