Wallsend Eagles

Andy CampbellUncategorized

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Wallsend Eagles

Established 1989


Founders: Steve Walmsley, Phyllis Thorman and Jan Neighbour

Club colours and badge: Purple and Black

Current Home Venue: Wallsend Eagles RLFC, St. Peter’s Field, Caesar Way, Wallsend, NE28 7HH

Previous Home Venue(s): Western Middle School 1989 – 2006 Wallsend Sport Centre 2007 – 2008 Benfield Sports Centre


Wallsend Eagles are a rugby league side based in WallsendNewcastle Upon Tyne. The club runs five teams: open-age who play in the Rugby League Conference North East Premier; under-12s, under-14s and under-16s who all play in the North East Junior League and under-10s who play friendlies.

Newcastle Eagles were founded in 1989 and were based at Western Middle school in Wallsend, North Tyneside. 1998 saw the club close down with lack of players until 2001 when a chance meeting brought Steve Walmsley into contact with Phyllis Thorman and Jan Neighbour. Walmsley was looking for a new challenge after aiding Killingworth Rockets’ coach. Soon after, with the help of Phyllis and Jan, he began looking for new players for the Eagles.

News of the resurrected club team spread and within weeks there was renewed interest. The new Eagles team went on to play teams such as Sunderland CityWhitley Bay Barbarians, Shiney Row Sharks and Gateshead Panthers. Within the first year of starting up again Newcastle Eagles won the league. By 2005 there were two teams.

Newcastle Eagles continued to train and play games at Western Middle School until the building was demolished in 2006. The Eagles then re-located to Wallsend Sports Centre. By 2007 the club had expanded to three teams and Tony Kelly arrived as coach.

In 2008 the club committee decided to change the name of the team from Newcastle Eagles to Wallsend Eagles. It was thought that the new name would reflect on the huge local talent that came out of Wallsend. It was also this year that the Eagles moved to their new home at Benfield sports centre. By 2009, the Eagles consisted of four age group teams and also saw the Eagles under-16s venture into the Yorkshire league where they finished mid-table. In 2010, the open-age team joined the North East division of the Rugby League Conference. Eagles joined the newly formed North East Premier in 2011.

in 2015 the club fielded two open age teams for the first time in its history with Wallsend Eagles A team coming runners up in North East Division 2 and the first XIII dominating the North East Premier, winning the league, grand final and the North East Cup

Additional notes:

Notable Players/ Coaches: Newcastle Eagle to this day continues to have provided the most players and coaches from any North East Club into the professional game. Including England international Chris Thorman, Some of Gateshead Thunder highest capped player in Robin Peers, Kevin Neighbour, Steven Bradley, and Stephen Rutherford. Playing further afield were Paul Thorman at London Skolars with his brother Neil also plying his trade at the London club and overseas in Australia and America.

More recently players like Sam Luckley – Salford City Reds – Super League, Tyler Walton at Midlands Hurricanes and Rochdale hornets with Nathan Newbound joining him at Midlands and playing England Students.
Arguably the highest profile player was Chris Thorman, who at the age of 17 moved to Sheffield Eagles, then to Australia to play for Parramatta Eels, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC and York City Knights through out his professional career.

Alongside players Eagles have produced some notable coaches in Chris Hood and Chris Thorman and Kevin Neighbour

Chris Hood was a key figure in the 2009 Gateshead Thunder promotion team, who went on to be the head coach at Gateshead Thunder. Chris coached at England Students through his career and eventually going full circle and coaching at Eagles and a Director of the club in 2010 saving professional rugby league I the North East.

Chris Thorman boats a fruitful coaching career across several clubs including York City Knights, Huddersfield Giants and Workington Town whom he got promoted after one season to Championship in 2021

Kevin started as an assistant at Gateshead Thunder then moved on to the Head Coach role. Kevin’s Career moved him across to the other side of the world to Australia developing his skills and knowledge as a coach moved to become the Head Coach at North Brisbane Devils in 2022.

Keith Christie has played several key roles in the North East Rugby Landscape, after instigating the senior team in 2010. Keith was part of the team alongside Chris Hood at Thunder in 2010. In 2015 Keith negotiate the move to Kingston Park and the transition to Newcastle Thunder as we know now. His determination and hard work allowed the club to develop under new ownership. In 2022 he went in as the Thunder Chairman