“A massive move for me” Owen

Date published: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
GARETH Owen might have 36 Super League appearances on his CV, but he is still thrilled to bits to be playing in Championship One for his home-town team.
“As a kid I used to dream of playing for Oldham one day, and now I’ve made it,” said the latest Salford Red Devils player to join Roughyeds on loan.
He is at Whitebank for the rest of the season, having made an impressive debut at hooker in the stunning 24-23 win against third-placed Hunslet Hawks on Sunday.
Just 22, he signed for Salford from Waterhead when he was 16 and made his Super League debut against Hull KR at The Willows in August, 2010 as an 18-year-old.
His latest, and 36th appearance at the highest level of the domestic game, was in Salford’s final game of last season against Widnes Vikings when he was in the starting line-up and picked up a man-of-the-match award.
This season, he has played eight games for Sheffield Eagles, on loan, in the Championship.
But when the opportunity arose to join the large contingent of Salford or ex-Salford personnel at Oldham, the club he supported as a boy, he jumped at it.
“I’ll tell you, this is a massive move for me,” he said. “I’ve always been an Oldham fan.
” I used to watch them play regularly when I was a boy — Lucas Onyango was my favourite player — and I was chuffed to wear the jersey for the first time on Sunday.
“I just hope I can add something to the team.”
Living in Moorside, he is contracted to Salford for one more year after this one, but he is eagerly looking forward to Oldham’s remaining four league games, followed by the all-important top-five play-off.
Only the winners of the play-off final get promoted.
He added: “I’ve never played in a play-off game before so if I get picked that in itself will be something special for me.
“I just hope I can be a part of all the big games that are looming large for Oldham.
“I know how much it would mean to the club to go all the way so we have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of months.”
He didn’t know he was joining Oldham until last Friday, so he had only one training session with the squad before making his debut 48 hours later.
Like Jon Ford, George Tyson and Edwin Okanga-Ajwang, he is at Whitebank on a temporary arrangement from the Red Devils.
Former Salford players Lewis Palfrey, Adam Clay and Ben Wood were also at the Super League club with him before leaving to go their separate ways.
His first four years at The Willows were spent under the watchful eye of Lee Spencer, who was then Salford’s academy coach, and whenever he was called on to train with the under-21s he was under the command of Scott Naylor.
Said Owen: “It was a huge help to walk into the club and know so many people.
“And I loved that first game. It was a fantastic game to play in on debut and the way it finished couldn’t have been scripted.
“It was my first game for a month, but I felt fit and strong and completely at home in the surroundings.”
* Oldham’s under-20s game at Leigh Centurions tomorrow (Wed), 7.30pm kick off, will be played on the ground of amateurs Leigh East which forms part of Leigh Sports Village.