Wright returns to Thunder for 2020 On Field February 23, 2020 Newcastle Thunder will welcome back Samoan international Matthew Wright for the 2020 season as the club complete their squad for the upcoming Betfred League 1 season. Wright joined Newcastle mid-way through the 2019 season when he signed from Intrust Super Cup side Central Queensland Capras and made a huge impression with his athleticism and skill. Scoring seven tries in as many appearances he also proved himself as an adept kicker with nine goals and enjoyed an 85% win ratio, featuring in the victories against Workington, Hunslet, Skolars, North Wales and Keighley. Capped seven times for his country, Wright brings over 100 games worth of NRL experience through stints with Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Sea Eagles. Born in Auckland; Wright was selected to play for the Australian Schoolboys in 2008 and progressed through the Penrith Panthers junior systems where an impressive showing for the club’s NYC team earned him his first three year contact with the Sharks. Standing at 6ft 4in and weighing in at 15st, Wright it adept in a range of positions across the park and will provide Thunder with options at fullback, wing, centre and hooker. Instrumental in bringing the centre back to Tyneside have been the Squadbuilder group of fans, whose support has assisted the club in securing Wright’s flights and visas back to the UK. Squadbuilder is an initiative whereby supporters can make a set donation per month for use by Newcastle Thunder’s head coach for the purposes of player recruitment and retention. Controlled by a committee that approves all requests to access funds, Squadbuilder is nearly as old as Thunder itself and over the course of its history, has helped the club to bring in or retain quality players including Peter Fox, Lewis Young and Nick Youngquest. Speaking on Wright’s return to the Thunder ranks, head coach Simon Finnigan said: “I’m delighted to welcome Matty back into the squad. He was a terrific addition to our group both on and off the field last season and I am looking forward to seeing him get stuck in with the boys again. Wright will arrive back at Kingston Park later this week and will be in line for selection for the first League 1 home game of the season against Workington Town on Sunday 8th March.