100 senior games for Lucas

Date published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

LUCAS Onyango will make his 100th senior appearance for Oldham RL Club in Friday’s derby clash at Rochdale.

“Wow, I didn’t know that,” said the Roughyeds’ Kenyan winger, who made his debut for the club part way into the 2007 season.

He said he would like nothing better than to celebrate this career milestone — and his 31st birthday next Thursday — with at least one try in the traditional Good Friday derby at Spotland, which kicks off at 1pm.

Of the current squad, only Neil Roden and Jason Boults were at the club when Onyango arrived from Widnes Vikings five years ago to form a new left-wing partnership with Adam Hughes.

In the new Oldham club’s 15-year history only 12 other players have joined the ‘100 Club’ —- Roden (278), John Hough (228), Jason Clegg (147), Gareth Barber (138), Boults (137), Gavin Dodd (132), Phil Farrell (124), Lee Doran (112), Jon Goddard (110), Paul O’Connor (108), Danny Guest (104) and Joe McNicholas (102).

Lucas will reach his ton despite missing most of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, which required surgery and kept him out of the game for ten months.

His try-scoring performance in last Sunday’s top-of-the-table win against Barrow Raiders came in only his second comeback game.

Added Lucas: “The time has flown by since I first came here. It’s crazy.

“Lots of players have come and gone in that time, but I’m happy to soldier on here while the boss still wants me.

“I’ve always felt at home at Oldham — and to get that interception try against Barrow after being sidelined for so long was magical.

“It was a shock to the system t look up and see I had half the length of the pitch to run, but neither my legs nor my lungs let me down. I felt great.”

It was the Kenyan’s 70th Oldham try in 99 appearances.

His best seasons were 2007 (18 tries in 23 games) and 2010 (19 tries in 28 games).

What he has lost in pace and athleticism over the last five years he has made up for in strength and experience.

“The game has become tighter,” he said. “I don’t get many opportuniies these days to run like the wind, but I’m much stronger now and purpose-built for helping out with the heavy work.

“I mix it in the middle with the props when I’m running the ball out. A year or two back they would flatten me and wipe me out, but not now. I can hold my own.

“The other boys reckon my age is a con; that I’m Oldham’s answer to Stanley Gene, and that really I’m 40 something.

“I tell them: ‘Old is gold’.

“As soon as I get the nod from the physio I’ll start doing sprint training again.

“I need to, because if I just do weights I’ll get so strong that Tony (coach Tony Benson) will want to start me at prop!”

The Reserves game against York City Knights at Whitebank tomorrow (Thursday) kicks off at 8pm.