Another Joy turns pro

Date published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014
OLDHAM RL Club have cherry-picked another young player from their under-20s side — the first this year — and have signed him on professional forms.
Richard Joy (20), a forward, will be following a well-trodden path, taken previously by half a dozen of the club’s first-team professionals, including his elder brother Phil (22).
Phil Joy, a prop, spent most of the 2012 season in the second team before turning pro in 2013 and winning the club’s player-of-the-year award in his first season of senior rugby.
Danny Langtree, Michael Ward, who has been at the club since he was 16, David Cookson, Kenny Hughes and Steven Nield also worked their way up to first-team level via the under-20s.
Richard Joy and his twin, Andrew, joined big brother Phil at Whitebank with three or four under-20s games still left at the end of last season.
It took only four more games this season for university student Richard to convince his immediate boss Neil Roden and the club’s head coach Scott Naylor that he was first-team material.
Said under-20s coach Roden: “He’s tough, with good hands and a great attitude. He’s got the ability to step up, and he isn’t on his own in that side of mine.”
Added Naylor: “We expect him to progress, as Phil did. He can make it to the next level, of that I’m confident, so it made sense to keep him at the club and to sign him up.”
Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “We put a lot of faith and hard work into our under-20s and this is the latest ‘good news’ story to come out of it.
“Richard has many of Phil’s qualities — such as commitment, dedication and application — and although his style of play is different we are sure he is capable of moving up.”
All three Joy brothers grew up in the Waterhead club’s junior section, but by the time Richard and Andrew were ready to join their home-town professional club they were playing for Saddleworth under-18s.
Said Richard: “I was genuinely taken aback when I was asked to sign. It was something I had been aiming for, but I didn’t expect it to come so soon.
“I guess it’s up to me now. I’m looking forward to the challenge. It will certainly give me something to aim for.
“My favourite position, like Phil, is prop. ‘Rats’ (Roden) has been playing me at loose-forward. I’m happy to play anywhere, so long as I get a game.
“All I can do is aim to reach my best and see where it takes me.”
* Richard is a second-year student at the University of Salford, studying business, maths and economics.
* Andrew is at the University of Liverpool, reading maths with finance.
* Phil is reading for a masters in international finance and banking at the University of Leeds.