Newcastle Thunder can today confirm that Head Coach Simon Finnigan will leave the club with immediate effect to take up a role with BetFred Championship side Widnes Vikings.

Finnigan joined the club in May 2019 to work alongside Director of Rugby Denis Betts.

In his first season in charge of the team, Finnigan led Thunder to the League 1 Promotion Final where the team narrowly lost to Oldham.

In 2020 Thunder managed two victories in League 1 and Challenge Cup wins over Siddal, Keighley Cougars and Dewsbury Rams before the season was ended in March.

Speaking about Simon Finnigan’s departure Thunder Director of Rugby Denis Betts said: “Although we are disappointed Simon is moving on we understand his reasons for doing so.

“Widnes is his hometown, he has played for the club and they are in the Championship. He leaves with our best wishes and we are sure he will make a big impression at the Vikings.

“Our attention now turns to a replacement for what is one of the most exciting coaching roles in rugby league. I’m sure it will generate a lot of interest and we look forward the continued progress the Thunder are making.

“We also have a number of exciting new signings and re-signings to announce in the next few weeks that will build our supporters’ interest and anticipation ahead of 2021.”