IN CONVERSATION – Liam Finn

Newcastle Thunder’s newest signing Liam Finn is looking forward to embarking on a new chapter in his illustrious career when he joins the club in 2019 and becoming a key figure in the continuing development at Kingston Park.

The vastly experienced scrum-half sent shockwaves around the rugby league world last week when his move to Tyneside was announced and the man himself explains how he sees the opportunity that joining Thunder provides.

Speaking to ThunderRugby.com Finn said: “It’s not something that I’ve really done before, play outside the rugby league corridor so I started to get really excited about it and it is a fantastic opportunity to help some lads from outside the rugby league heartlands to improve and to try and help the club to where it wants to be and to push forward and hopefully help it to become a Championship club.

“I enjoy playing rugby, it’s something I’ve always done and joining Thunder is similar to some of the experiences I’ve had playing for Ireland, in that we’ve had teams with varying degrees of players’ rugby league background and I think I can bring some of that experience of getting the best of those different degrees to be playing as a team.

“Hopefully, I can control the team and help other people to play well, understand their roles in the team and move people around and make sure that they don’t have an awful lot to think about when they are playing.”

Having played in over 400 games, a move into the backroom at Wakefield Trinity was set to be the main development in Finn’s rugby league story in 2019, but with his desire to play still strong, the door was open for Thunder head coach Jason Payne to make his pitch.

Finn said: “I got a phone call of Jason and he asked me what my plans were for next year and I told him that I was looking to get involved in coaching at Wakefield but that I wasn’t really ready to hang my boots up yet.

“He asked if I would be interested in coming to Newcastle and he sold the club to me, what he thought I would bring and what we could do together next season.

“I came up and had a look and the facilities are the best I’ve ever been involved with in rugby league, so that tells you straight away the level of the facilities to start with, but just talking to the club and seeing the under 16s and the under 19s and the first team are just growing it the right way, from the ground up and hopefully with the club attacking it from a first team point of view, that can only serve to improve the whole thing as a club.”

With the move now confirmed and excitement building, Finn is also looking forward to helping the club’s homegrown talent progress and passing on his extensive knowledge as Thunder look to field more and more local players.

He said: “I’m excited to see what appetite people have up here. I’ve been up with Wakefield U19s and I can see some quality young players who are learning the game and starting from behind the eight ball from the lads that we pick up down in the heartlands, but they are doing a fantastic job and I am hoping that I can help them to improve and get some more of those playing first team.”