IT’S three wins out of three for the North Wales Crusaders during their terrific start to the League One campaign.

Carl Forster’s side maintained their good form with a 58-18 success over Newcastle Thunder, who are still seeking a first league win of the season.

It was a reunion for Dan Coates, who was a Crusaders’ starter against his former club.

The 24-year-old enjoyed two spells with Newcastle Thunder where he made a total of 17 appearances.

Reflecting on his time in the North East, Coates recalls his very first memory when he was playing in the U14/U15s Scholarship

“They weren’t even called Newcastle; they were called North East Thunder!” he said.

“I later progressed through into the U19s where I played with a lot of lads who are still playing for Newcastle or are still in the game today, which is nice to see.

“Being from Durham, rugby league isn’t really a popular sport with rugby union and football being what everyone wants to do up there.”

Coates added: “Even though Newcastle Thunder are experiencing some difficulties at the minute, there is so much talent and I think it’s extremely important there is a team in the North East.”

Coates was on the money to convert Matt Reid’s third minute try and he also converted Reid’s second try of the contest in the 10th minute.

In-between these efforts, Jack Holmes powered over for an unconverted try.

Pat Ah Van, Shaun Costello and Matt Fletcher bagged further tries and one additional Coates conversion saw Crusaders 30-0 ahead after 28 minutes.

That advantage was stretched to 42 points by half-time, with tries by Levy Nzoungou and Jack Holmes both converted by Coates.

In the second half, Crusaders added another three tries, while Newcastle replied with three tries of their own.

Player-coach Forster crossed for two tries and there was one for Ryan Ellis as Cru remain in third spot behind Keighley Cougars and new leaders Oldham, who eased to a 62-0 win away to Hunslet.