New Newcastle Thunder signing Bob Beswick has heaped praise on the club’s development structures, as the club prepares to challenge for promotion in 2020.
Thunder are the 35-year-old’s sixth club in a 400-game career that has seen him play for the likes of Wigan, Widnes, Leigh and Toronto.
What seemingly sets the North East club apart from the rest, however, is their dedication to producing quality local players – something Beswick has been seriously impressed with.
“They’ve got eight (development) teams, reserves and first team this year”, he said. “There’s links with the local universities, local amateur clubs and they’re always trying to develop the game.
“The amount of support staff that we have that are doing that sort of work is incredible and it’s one of the best setups and structures I’ve seen.”
The chance to help develop young talent isn’t all that attracted the hooker to Newcastle. The prospect of working with ex-teammate and coach Simon Finnigan, who joined the club mid-way through 2019, was another big draw.
“I really like his (Finnigan’s) style of play,” he added. “Newcastle as a city and a club have everything in place to develop and try to reach that ultimate goal of Super League, so it’s a really exciting opportunity.
“We’re obviously going to try compete and be up there but League One’s a tough league. You’ve got Barrow in there, Workington, Doncaster and Rochdale as well – teams have strengthened.
“We need to train hard and work together to buy into what Simon’s saying and that’s all we can do as players.”
Beswick’s vast experience across all levels of the game was one of the reasons he was recruited by the ambitious Thunder, and he’s already started to work with the club’s younger players in pre-season.
⚡️INCOMING SIGNING⚡️We’re delighted to announce our second new signing for 2020 and to welcome @Irelandrl captain @BBPerform to the club #newsigning #thunderfamily #astormisbrewing pic.twitter.com/G5sHQ5RAly
— Newcastle Thunder (@ThunderRugby) October 27, 2019
Despite being a seasoned professional, though, he insists he’s still a student of the game.
“They (youngsters) are all good players in their own right so if I can help out in any way from mistakes I’ve made in my career then I’ll try do that. At the same time, though, I’m still trying to learn the game.
“I think I’ll probably figure it out when I retire. I don’t know when that’ll be but that’s part of the reason I still enjoy playing – because I’m still always learning something.
“I want to keep playing and stay fit, and to be positively contributing to the team and making an impact. I certainly don’t want to be a passenger in the team, I never have done.
“I’ll just keep working hard in training and try to learn from Simon and the rest of the coaching staff.”