2019 SIGNING – Jared Blanke joins from Lezignan

Newcastle Thunder have added to what is set to be a power-packed set of forwards for 2019 after securing the services of Jared Blanke on a two-year deal.

Australian born Blanke joins following a season played with French Elite 1 side Lezignan and brings experience from Queensland Cup with the North’s Devils.

The second row is a product of the Keebra Park rugby league nursery, one of the most prominent and successful rugby league schools in Australia and has also represented West Brisbane Panthers.

A leader both on and off the field, Blanke is a physical forward who will look to put Thunder onto the front foot in attack and remain rock solid in defence.

He joins Jack Aldous, Rhys Clarke, Liam Finn, Remy Marginet, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons and David Weetman as confirmed members of the club’s 2019 squad.

Speaking on his move to Newcastle Thunder, Jared Blanke said: “it has been a long-held goal of mine to play rugby league in England and I’m really happy to be coming to Newcastle for that to happen. It is a proud club and I can’t wait to represent it.

“Thunder stalwart Matty Barron is one of my really good mates and when I’ve been to Newcastle before to visit him, I checked out the stadium while I was there and was very impressed with what I saw.

“My discussions with Jason were always positive, straight to the point of the goals of the club and his vision moving forward. I felt comfortable talking to him and felt really wanted here at Newcastle.

Thunder head coach Jason Payne said: “I’m delighted to get Jared signed on a two-year deal. He comes from a real high standard from playing Queensland Cup in Australia and playing in Elite 1 over in France. He comes highly recommended by a lot of people.

“He is a big guy and is very physical and is the big body that we have been looking to bring into our pack so we’re really excited for what he is going to bring to what is an area where we already have a good deal of talent.

“It continues to show the ambition we’ve got for next year, we’re already focusing on building as strong a squad as possible for next year and Jared will be the foundation of that in terms of laying the platform for what our halves in Liam Finn and Remy Marginet can do off the back of that.”