MATCH REPORT – Whitehaven RLFC 46 – 12 Newcastle Thunder

Academy stars step up as Newcastle Thunder draw a close to their pre-season campaign. 

Newcastle Thunder’s youngsters seized their chance to create a strong impression in Sunday’s final pre-season friendly at Whitehaven.

Jason Payne included no fewer than eleven of the clubs hottest young prospects in a 21-man squad as he looked to run a final rule over his 2019 squad ahead of Saturday’s Betfred League 1 kick off against Doncaster.

Thunder started the game with high intensity with Conor Fitzsimmons leading the defensive line against an energetic Whitehaven attack.

But after 10 minutes it was Whitehaven who broke the deadlock.

An offload by the Whitehaven prop was followed by a collection of passes out wide which ended in second row Jake Moore fly over in the corner.

Possession was then passed backwards and forwards between the two sides with Tyler Craig pulling the most skilful of tricks in the half as he plucked a Whitehaven kick out of the air with one hand.

Thunder then took the lead through new signing, Keal Carlile playing a rocket of a pass to new signing Jared Blanke who barged his way over the line. Youngster Alex Donaghy successfully kicked the extra’s.

Whitehaven responded quickly as it was five minutes later when Sam Forrester bagged himself a try with Connor Holliday converting.

After impressing on his debut against Wakefield and being so close to scoring, Alex Donaghy opened his first team account as he was on the end of a well-executed set piece play which saw him crash his way over the try line.

He followed this up by converting his own try to bring Thunder back into the lead.

After repetitive attacking sets, Whitehaven eventually managed to retake the lead through Brett Phillips and a successful by Jake Moore put Whitehaven in the driver’s seat going in at the break.

Half Time: Whitehaven RLFC 16 – 12 Newcastle Thunder

The second half saw plenty of changes to Newcastle Thunder’s fielded side and, in a proud moment for the club’s development programme, resulted in eleven out of the possible 13 on the field to have an association with the academy.

Eight of those players were currently part of the academy including Nathan Clemmitt, whose involvement also broke the long-standing record to become the youngest player to represent our first team at the age of 16 years and 6 months.

As the game progressed, Whitehaven demonstrated their wealth of experience on the field and with tries from Chris Taylor, Tom Wilkinson, Newton and two for Dave Thompson, Whitehaven finished the game with a comfortable lead.

Rhys Clarke, who had previously the youngest player accolade said: “It’s great to see Nathan make his debut along with the other lads. I thought they gave a great account of themselves and to see someone as good as Nathan at such a young age is great.

“To be playing against a tough Whitehaven side away at 16 years old is a real baptism of fire and I thought he was brilliant.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him and the rest of the lads progress over the next few years.”

Full Time:

Whitehaven RLFC 46 – 12 Newcastle Thunder

Whitehaven RLFC:

1. Chris Taylor

2. Dave Thompson

3. Connor Holliday

4. Jason Mossop

5. Andrew Bulman

6. Sam Forrester

7. Callum Philips

8. Marc Shackley

9. James Newton

10. Kris Coward

11. Bret Phillips

12. Jake Moore

13. Tom Wilkinson

14. Jake Bradley

15. Lewis Brown

16. Rhys Burr

17. Ruairi McGoff

18. Jordan Thomson

19. Matty While

20. Ethan Kelly


Dave Thompson 2, Chris Taylor, Tom Wilkinson, JamesNewton, Jake Moore, Sam Forrester, Brett Philips


Jake Moore 4, Holliday 3


Newcastle Thunder:

1. Alex Clegg

2. Mo Agoro

3. Joe Brown

4. Tyler Craig

5. Niall Sidney

6. Tom Wilcox

7. Alex Donaghy

8. Jared Blanke

9. Keal Carlile

10. Rhys Clarke

11. Aaron Ollett

12. Conor Fitzsimmons

13. David Weetman

14. Jed Charlton

15. Connor Clayton

16. Nathan Clemmitt

17. Anthony Dyne

18. Nathan Kitching

19. James McGurk

20. Rory Nettleton

21. Daniel White

22. Tyler Walton



Jared Blanke, Alex Donaghy


Alex Donaghy 2