SIGNING – Dan Coates joins Thunder senior squad On Field October 23, 2018 Under 19s Academy starlet Dan Coates will step up to League 1 rugby in 2019 after the player’s efforts have been rewarded with a first-team contract for Newcastle Thunder’s upcoming campaign. A product of Durham Demons, Coates has been part of Thunder’s Talent Pathway since Under 15s and is positive proof of hard work reaping rewards. A late developer, the young half-back played his first games within the Thunder structures at Under 16 level and has since developed into one of the club’s most promising players. Creative on the field with a wide range of skills including an exceptional kicking game, Coates also leads from the front and was one of the Under 19 team’s driving forces up until a knee injury curtailed his season. Now his development will continue within the senior set-up and with players of the calibre of Liam Finn and Remy Marginet to learn from, is sure to capitalise on his natural ability and progress further still. Speaking on joining the senior squad, Coates said: “Its a very proud moment to join Thunder. I’ve been wanting to join the first team since I started with the academy three years ago so I’m really happy to have been given this chance. “Heapy has given me plenty of guidance over the last three years and has helped me come out of my shell. I’m a thinking half-back and I like putting my team-mates into good positions around the pitch so that guidance has really helped me improve my communication skills. “Coming into a team where there are two current internationals in my position is going to be a fantastic experience and is hopefully an environment where I can just learn as much as I can and kick on even further.” Speaking on the player’s graduation, Michael Heap said: “Dan is a real success story in terms of player development. Questioned as being too small and too quiet at Under 15 level he has stuck at it, committed fully to developing his understanding of the game, leadership, decision making and all-round skill set and is graduating the Academy as a player who I believe has the potential and ability to help drive this club forward. “2018 has been a challenging year for Dan. He was progressing really nicely and really starting to come into his own before picking up the injury which finished his season. He led Northumbria Uni to victory in the Student RL Grand Final, in his first year as a student. In the Bradford game where he was injured in the opening few minutes I believe he had three involvements; forcing an error from a spiral bomb, a try assist and a line break. Dan has an unquestionable work ethic and a fantastic support network in his family and I know that if he keeps focussed that he can establish himself in the first team over the coming years.” Coates joins Mo Agoro, Jack Aldous, Jared Blanke, Keal Carlile, Rhys Clarke, Liam Finn, Conor Fitzsimmons, Sam Luckley, Remy Marginet, Liam McAvoy, Aaron Ollett, Alex Rowe, Niall Sidney, Evan Simons, David Weetman and Lewis Young in Thunder’s 2019 squad. Season tickets for the new campaign to watch these exciting players in action over 11 Betfred League 1 matches are on sale now, with prices starting from just £100 for adults. For more information on 2019 season tickets click here or to book click here call 0871 2266060 or visit the Kingston Park Stadium box office.