In Opposition - Keighley Cougars Super 8s

In Opposition - Keighley Cougars Super 8s

31st August 2017

Newcastle Thunder complete their 2017 home fixtures this weekend when they take on Keighley Cougars in the Kingstone Press League 1 Super 8s on Sunday (KO 3 pm)

It is a match that has become a must win game for Thunder if they are to secure a place in the end of season play-offs, with this the first of three final games against the teams that are their direct completion for the final top five positions.

Returning to action following a week’s break for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final, Jason Payne’s side will be looking to go beyond the so near yet so far nature of their last two fixtures, where gutsy performances fell short of gaining a result.

Last time at home, Thunder launched a highly impressive fight back against Barrow Raiders as they turned a 6-30 deficit to just a 28-30 one in the game’s final 15 minutes, falling agonisingly short of an impressive victory against a side firmly challenging for the League title.

The performance two weeks later was also a head turner as Thunder went toe to toe with the juggernaught that is the Toronto Wolfpack in Canada. Holding the current league leaders to just a 6-0 lead for most of the first half, the full timers ultimately ran out comfortable 50-0 winners, though for a team unable to field a full strength side, Thunder were able to take many positives from the trip.

The two sides have met once already this season, with the result going the way of the home side thanks to arguably one of the most impressive performances of the season

Taking a first win over the Cougars since 2008, Thunder controlled the game for large swathes and were good value for their 36-12 win

The Cougars arrive will arrive on Tyneside two points ahead of Thunder in sixth position in the table, having taken five points from a potential eight in their four Super 8 games to date.

They launched into the campaign in impressive style, with a 24-32 away win at Doncaster before an impressive 22-20 win at Cougar Park over the high flying York City Knights.

That was backed up with a great 26 all draw against Toronto and gives the Cougars a real opportunity of joining in the push towards the Kingstone Press Championship at season’s end.

Tickets, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s for Sunday's game are available to book now by clicking here, calling 0871 2266060 or by visiting the Kingston Park Stadium box office.

Players to Watch

Matty Beharrell – A familiar face for Thunder fans, Beharrell returned to Kingstone Press League 1 with the Cougars for 2017, having left Thunder to play Championship rugby with Swinton Lions.

He has been an ever-present for Keighley this season with five tries, 99 goals and two drop goals to his name so far in 2017, with three of his 13 appearances garnering man of the match honours.


Josh Tonks – Former York City Knights second-row Josh Tonks joined Cougars in November 2016 and has lived up to his billing as a powerful second row with an eye for the tryline, with six four pointers so far this season.

Tonks has missed just two games this season for Keighley and was part of the Dewsbury Rams side that went a full domestic league season unbeaten as they were crowned Championship One Champions in 2009.


Vinny Finigan – A product of the Bradford Bulls Academy, Finigan joined Keighley ahead of the 2016 season from Hunslet and played a full part in the club’s League 1 Cup win over York.

A member of the Sheffield Eagles side that won back to back Championship titles in 2012 and 2013 He has made 14 appearances so far this term for the Cougars and scored five tries. 

In Opposition - Keighley Cougars Super 8s