Woods & Derrick secure 2018 Thunder deals

Newcastle Thunder will be offering opportunities to two of the next generation of their homegrown stars in 2018, after awarding contracts to academy starlets Scott Derrick and Jake Woods for the forthcoming League 1 season.

Fullback Woods and wing Derrick have impressed Thunder’s first team coaches with their performances for the club’s Under 19s academy in 2017 and will be hopeful of developing further in the club’s first team environment.

A product of Cramlington Rockets, Woods is a strong speedster with good hands and an ability to read the game well, while Derrick comes from across the border via Easter House Panthers.

A committed player making the switch down to the North East to pursue his chances on Tyneside, Derrick is a no-nonsense presence out on the wing with a tough attitude in both attack and defence.

Speaking on his signing of the two youngsters, Thunder head coach Jason Payne said: “I’m delighted Jake has taken the step up to first-grade rugby. He is a great athlete with a good rugby brain and I’m excited to see how his journey will progress over the next season.

“Hopefully he can continue to show some of the form that we have seen during his 19s fixtures. Jake travels from Alnwick every session which is a huge commitment so hopefully, he can have a big year and make the effort all worthwhile.

“Scott has shown great commitment in pursuit of his goal to be a professional rugby league player. Often traveling long distances with him being from Scotland, he has also opted to relocate to the North East.

“He is a hard runner who I hope can bring some real energy to our team and I’m delighted we have been able to offer him an opportunity with the first team this season.”