Hudson set for Thunder debut

Newcastle Thunder will hand a first-team debut to one of it’s most promising Under 19s players this Sunday, as the club continues to demonstrate its commitment to developing North East talent.

East Boldon’s Kieran Hudson will start against Hemel Stags on Sunday and will see the young outside back continue on a meteoric rise through the game’s ranks.

A former academy goalkeeper at Sunderland AFC, Hudson was released by the football club at 15 and has since been making waves in rugby league since first coming into contact with the sport as a pupil at Whitburn Church of England Academy.

Coached by Newcastle Thunder first team players Joe Brown and Rhys Clarke and inspired by these sessions, Hudson went on to play for local amateur side Jarrow Vikings before enrolling on to Thunder’s college academy programme which the club runs in conjunction with Tyne Met College

It was here that he caught the eye of Thunder’s management and ultimately drafted into the full Under 19 academy. Playing against the age grade sides clubs from Betfred Super League his tenacity and skill has seen the young winger stand out and earn his call into the senior ranks for Sunday’s game.

He is the second of the club’s Under 19 academy players to be given an opportunity to impress in the first team this season, following on from hooker Ollie Gowing who featured in games against Coventry Bear and York City Knights and is hopeful of making a similar mark.

Hudson said: “I’m really looking forward to it, I got a bit nervous when I heard I was getting the call-up but I am excited to start.

“I want to show what I have got and trying to show everyone what is about me.  I love taking carries out of yardage and I don’t mind the old finish or two whenever I get the ball so hopefully, there will be a chance to get onto the scoresheet on Sunday.”

Thunder’s Academy Manager Michael Heap said “Kieran is a really tough kid who has been consistently one of the hardest workers within the Academy and he fully deserves this chance to show what he can do within the First Team. Kieran’s story is a great one and shows that if you have some talent and the desire to work hard you can go far, even if you haven’t come through the traditional pathways.

“He was not involved with our Under 16 Academy at all, having only properly taken rugby league up after he was released from Sunderland’s academy and as such his potential wasn’t really known to us until he took a chance and became part of our college academy.

“He didn’t make an immediate impact but through a lot of hard work, asking loads of questions, commitment and consistency he has established himself as a player with real potential to kick on.  I can’t wait to see how he responds to his first start!”

“It is important to acknowledge the people that have helped Kieran on his journey so far.  From Joe Brown & Rhys Clarke engaging him at school, Gary Bates coaching him at Jarrow to his teacher Charlotte Rush for providing playing opportunities at Whitburn Academy and Jordan Robinson recruiting him onto the college programme – as well as his family and friends for their continued support.

“Every person involved should be proud of his progress so far and I’m sure will be supporting Kieran as he takes another step on his journey!”