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Former Knights prop Jack Stearman joins Gateshead Thunder
THE chance for regular first-team action in World Cup year is a big factor in Jack Stearman’s decision to join Gateshead Thunder.
The 24-year-old prop has been with home-town club York City Knights for all of his professional career – and will remain at Huntington Stadium in his role as development officer – but he is now to pen a playing contract for a Tyneside outfit who, after finishing bottom of Championship One this year, are targeting a resurgence.
It ends a four-year stop-start spell in the Huntington Stadium first-team picture in which he played 36 times in total, albeit only once since June 2011.
“The last year and a half has been disappointing,” said the former New Earswick ARLC junior, who has had intermittent stints back at White Rose Avenue in recent winters. “But this gives me an opportunity to get back playing, and work with some good people and good players.
“Gateshead want to do well this year.
“They’ve not performed like they’d want to in the last two years but they’ve asked me and a couple of others to resurrect their situation and we’ll be doing our best to do that.”
Stearman, who suffered a dislocated elbow on his international debut a year ago, was named in the provisional Scotland squad for the current Alitalia European Cup competition but has been omitted from the playing party.
He added: “The main reason (to sign for Gateshead) is the chance for first-team rugby.
“It’s the World Cup next year and I’ve got to be playing regularly to warrant a place in that squad.
“Gateshead have come to see me and had a lot of positive things to say. It’s a new challenge.”
Stearman’s past year has not been helped by injuries and he is to undergo knee clean-out surgery before joining up with former York team-mates Paul Stamp, Benn Hardcastle and Tom Hodgson, and ex-New Earswick pal Jason Payne, a Thunder stalwart.
He added: “I should be training properly in the first week in December and will hopefully benefit from my first proper pre-season in a while. I want to prove to everyone I can do it.”
Asked if there would be any split loyalties, he said: “I’ll always be a York fan. I’ve supported them since I was a kid and it was a dream to play for my home-town club. I collected some good honours here, culminating in winning the (2010 Championship One) Grand Final and representing Scotland, but this is a new chapter for me.”