An attacking minded centre, 24 year old Atkinson switches to Tyneside on his return from Australian side Queanbeyan Kangaroos, looking to kick start a promising career interrupted by injury.
Starting out with his local club, Castleford Panthers, Atkinson impressed consistently as he worked his way up through the Tigers academy system before making breaking into the first team side, playing against Hull, St Helens and Warrington in their 2012 Super League campaign.
While part of the Kangaroos setup, Atkinson not only impressed as a player, but also involved himself with the coaching of the club’s Under 16s side.
Speaking about the move, Atkinson said: “I like what Thunder are trying to do In the North East and for Rugby League culturewise. There were other clubs I was speaking with but Thunder appealed the most. The facilities are fantastic and I’m really impressed, the gym for example is the next level and is much better than anything I’ve seen before.”
“Mick Mantelli, the new head coach has a pedigree and that was a big draw for me. As a team, I think we have to set our goals high and from a personal level, I want to get some games under my belt and get up to speed with the rest of the team and the systems and style we are looking to play.”
Thunder General Manager Keith Christie said: “Josh is a player that we have wanted to bring to Thunder for a long time and its great he has agreed to join us and be part of the club.”
“He has a great deal of experience that will be invaluable to Thunder next season. He is currently coming back from an injury he picked up while out in Australia and once he has a couple of games under his belt and he is fully fit, he will be a hell of a player for Thunder.”