The rise of David

Newcastle Thunder’s aims to offer playing opportunities to the North East’s best young talent will continue in 2018, with academy product David Weetman the latest aspiring player to graduate into the senior squad.

A 19 year-old loose forward, Weetman has impressed the coaches with both his ability and attitude in his time with the academy as he has grown both in terms of skill and game-play, but also as an individual.

It’s a progression that started back as an under 16 and has seen the Cramlington lad be a key part in the development of the academy as a whole, which he says has seen year on year improvement.

Describing his journey through the junior pathways to Weetman said: “I first joined the Thunder set up in the second year of the scholarship, so that was when I was an under 16, on a trial period before then being offered a contract for the academy.

“I played a few games in the academy and then got the call up into the Under 19s set up, where I’ve just finished my third year and now I’ve been offered a two year deal with the first team.

“I think it’s always been improving year on year and the third year has definitely been the best year for me personally and for the academy as well. Getting a win over Wakefield and competing with a lot of teams, and then the education, I think with it all now being based at Kingston Park, it has worked really well.”

In what has undoubtedly been the academy side’s strongest year,  Weetman served as captain as the team recorded its first ever win over opposition from a top flight club and put in a number of competitive performances during the course of the Academy Super League season.

It is a breakthrough that the former Cramlington Rockets junior credits to the squad developing together over time.

“With the likes of me and some of the other lads in the academy, we had been there for three year and not get a win and getting hammered by a lot of teams, so to outclass a Super League side was a really good feeling and all the lads bought in and worked really hard and got the result in the end.”

After shining in that side, Weetman’s journey to the first team stepped up during the Super 8s, with inclusion in the wider 19 man match day squads which he says, has helped him get an understanding of what he needs to do next season.

And though he is yet to take to the field in the team, the debut of Adam Beilby at the start of September leaves him confident that his own debut will not only be soon, but that he’ll be ready for it when it comes.

“It’s been good being in the match day squad a couple of times, I got the luxury of going over to Toronto which was a really good experience and just getting to see what all the lads do and how they prepare and gets me ready for what I’m going to have to do when hopefully when I am in the squad in the near future.

“I think with Adam playing against Keighley, it really shows how far the academy has come and that it is producing players for the first team, which is good in the long run for the club. I think it comes down to a lot of the lads working hard and getting those opportunities and really taking them.”

To get a flavour of what to expect, check out David’s highlight reel from 2017.

Some of my highlights from the 2017 Super League u19s season.

Posted by David Weetman on Monday, 11 September 2017