Date: Friday 29th May
Venue: Kingston Park, Newcastle
The grand opening to the Magic Weekend, the Thunder welcome the York City Knights for a clash between fourth and fifth.
Last Time Out
Oldham regained top spot in the division with a comfortable victory over fellow early pacesetters, Newcastle Thunder.
Adam Clay crossed for a hat-trick with further tries coming from Steve Roper, Gareth Owen, Danny Langtree, Steven Nield and Lewis Palfrey.
In front of the lowest crowd ever recorded for a York ‘home’ fixture, the Knights swept South Wales aside in Featherstone.
The game being played at the Big Fellas as York’s search for a home continued, Greg Minikin grabbed a hat-trick with Brad Nicholson crossing for a brace.
Pat Smith, Jack Pickles, Ben Dent, Lee Waterman, Josh Tonks, Tyler Craig, Ed Smith and Casey Canterbury all grabbed a try each in the rout.
Lee Fewlass and Sam Bowring both return for Newcastle who are without Jordan Meads, Tom Capper and Hull KR loanee Steve Holker. Macauley Hallett comes in on debut after joining this week from Hull KR.
Stand-off Jonny Presley and hooker Harry Carter are both in line to return for the Knights after regaining fitness following injury.
The full backs could be two to watch in this one. Oldham’s Steven Nield is a key player for the visitors and a regular try scorer for his side but Jesse Sheriffe has come into his own over the season and is proving more of a threat as the year goes on.
What The Coaches Say
Newcastle Thunder Head Coach Stanley Gene: “It’s a massive occasion for us. The club have worked really hard so the pressure is on us. After all the work off the field, it’s up to me and my coaching staff on the field to get it right come Friday night.
“York are a really good side. They pushed St Helens to the wire so they’ll get a lot of confidence from that and last Friday they beat South Wales by 70 points. We know they are a good side but we’ll be ready.”
York City Knights Head Coach Jon Ford: “We went about our business with a professional attitude.
“Credit to South Wales they came up and had a real dig at us in the first 20 minutes but we’re all very aware that it’s going to be a very different kettle of fish for us on Friday up at Newcastle.
“They’ve got some high profile players and we’ll need to raise our game. To play in front of a couple of thousand supporters on Friday would mean the world to the players, I’m sure they’ll be impressed with the brand of rugby we play.”
The Thunder will be pumped to be performing on home turf in front of such a big crowd and the Knights will be in buoyant mood after an easy victory last time out, but Newcastle are no South Wales – Newcastle by 14.