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FREEMAN STEPS UP

NEWCASTLE have made a second change in their Rising Star position with local youngster Archie Freeman replacing Jack Parkinson-Blackburn.

16-year-old Freeman is in his debut NDL season having joined Armadale after Newcastle ended their involvement at that level, but he now steps up to the Championship and will make his home debut in the big derby clash with Redcar a week on Sunday.

Diamonds manager Steve Pate said: “It’s always a club’s aim to get home-grown young local talent into their top team’s 1-7, and bringing Archie into our side is a key moment in our history for as far as local talent is concerned, he’s certainly one of the best.

“This is a big thing for the club as we always intended to give every chance to the young local lads, and this is very much the right time to bring him on board to progress his future career.

“He’s in for the season now and the other six Diamonds, from skipper Ben Barker to his fellow reserve James Wright, as all as enthusiastic to have young Archie into the side as we are, and have all said they can’t wait to work with him and will guide and advise him as he takes his first races in the Championship.”