NEIL Roden will captain Oldham RL Club in 2011, forming a triumvirate of dressing-room leaders with joint vice-captains Martin Roden and Marcus St Hilaire.
The appointments were announced today by head coach Tony Benson, who has taken the captaincy off one Roden and handed it to another — his cousin.
Martin Roden led the side last year, but Benson has since given him the job of assistant coach which he will perform alongside his duties as fitness conditioner.
He will also be competing with three more hookers — John Clough, Scott Mansfield and Danny Whitmore —- for a place each week in the 17-man squad.
Said Benson: “As a general rule we’ll play two hookers in each match. At any given time it will be the two ‘form’ hookers who get the shirts that week.
“There’s a lot of competition for those two spots. At best a hooker is going to get the equivalent of no more than half a game because of our substitution policy.
“You can expect Neil Roden to get loads more game time than that if he stays clear of injury, so it was logical to ask Neil to lead the side providing he ticked every other box, which he certainly did.
“I’ve spoken to Martin about this, obviously. He fully understands and appreciates my thinking behind the change, yet he is more than happy to have a voice as vice-captain and to share that role with Junior (Marcus St Hilaire).”
Neil R, the club’s longest serving player and leading try scorer, will be a popular choice both in the dressing room and among the supporters.
He has scored 98 tries in 250 cup-and-league appearances for Roughyeds, for whom he made his debut at Featherstone more than ten years ago — on March 26, 2000 to be precise.
Added Benson: “I encourage input from all my senior players. That’s especially important, I feel, when we have a squad which includes such a lot of young blokes who are still making their way in the game.
“They can learn a lot from the likes of Neil, Martin and Marcus. Their appointments as captain and vice-captains ratifies their seniority.
“Their roles will be all-embracing. They won’t merely lead on the field. The younger guys will learn a lot from them on training nights, in the dressing room and around the club on match days.”