After finishing eighth in League One last year, the North-East rugby league team are looking to kick on as they aim for promotion to the championship.

Last season Newcastle finished on 28 points after their 26-match season, this was 20 points of off the league winners York. Improvement is clearly needed for a title and promotion challenge in the upcoming 2019 season.

Efforts have been made by the club to progress forwards with the signing of Samoan international Misi Taulapapa who is very familiar with the English league. He has made over 230 appearances in the Championship so is very experienced at a higher level, especially with a stint in the Samoan national team in 2008. He will feature for Newcastle Thunder as either a centre or on the wing due to the pace and power that the Samoan possesses.

They have also brought through promising young talent from their academy into the first team set-up. The outside back Kieran Hudson is an under 19 player who has been graduated to the first team after he was a shining star in the academy last year. He is strong and powerful and notorious for his big carries.

Harry Aldous signed a new deal with the club, which is a massive boost for them as he is noted as one of the best players in league one after coming through the ranks of Premiership side Hull KR’s U19 academy. With these new additions promotion next season is a very realistic achievement.