Back in the old routine

Date published: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

JUST six weeks and two days since the end of their first campaign with Scott Naylor in charge, Oldham RL players tonight report back for the start of pre-season training at Oasis Academy Oldham.

The 2014 format for Championship One clubs isn’t yet known —- clubs from both Championship divisions will meet to thrash it out on Friday — but Roughyeds’ players will be ready for whatever is thrown at them.

If everything goes according to plan, Championship One fixtures are expected to be announced on Monday, December 2, a fortnight after Super League and, unlike previous years, a week after fixtures in the Championship have been circulated.

Nineteen contracted Oldham players will go to the pre-season starting gate, including four newcomers in Paddy Mooney, Danny Whitmore, Brett Robinson and Ben Wood.

Mooney, 19, a young prop from London Broncos, has moved north to study at Manchester University and comes highly recommended by coach Naylor’s southern contacts.

Oldham-born Whitmore, 24, needs no introduction to Whitebank regulars, this being his third spell with the club, including a brief two-game stay last season while on loan from Batley Bulldogs.

Robinson, 23, is a Wigan-born half-back who was at Oxford last season after two seasons with North Beach in Perth, Western Australia.

Wood, 24, a second-row forward and one of seven Oldham-born players in the 19, returns for his second stint at Whitebank, having also spent a year in Perth, starring at club and inter-state levels.

There will be more signings to come, but the roster to date is as follows:

Backs: David Cookson, Mo Agoro, Dale Bloomfield, Brett Robinson, Lewis Palfrey, Tom Whitehead, Steven Nield.

Forwards: Phil Joy, Danny Langtree, Sam Gee, Josh Crowley, Michael Ward, Paddy Mooney, Danny Whitmore, Jason Boults, Liam Thompson, Mark Hobson, Kenny Hughes, Ben Wood.

Conditioner Mike Hughes will be back from World Cup duty with Ireland to supervise the fitness aspect of tonight’s opening session and to prepare individual fitness programmes.

* Oldham Roughyeds Supporters’ Association (ORSA) is partnering Higginshaw ARLFC in a Race Night this Friday, November 15, at Higginshaw Sports and Social Club, St Stephen’s Street, Oldham (7.30pm for 8pm). Admission free.