Cookson in middle of two-year deal

Date published: Monday, October 7, 2013

OLDHAM Rugby League Club expect to complete more signings this week as chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor step up their attempts to get the bulk of next season’s squad in place as early as possible.

This time last year Roughyeds had neither coach nor assistant coach and only one player — long-serving Neil Roden, who was half way through a two-year contract.

A year on, centre David Cookson is in a similar position, having been the only player to sign a two-year agreement when the 2013 contracts were being sorted out.

The difference this time is that deals for next season have also been agreed with Phil Joy, Danny Langtree, Sam Gee, Josh Crowley, Michael Ward and new signings Paddy Mooney and Danny Whitmore.

Skipper Lewis Palfrey has previously said he is ‘very close’ to putting pen to paper and it is understood several other members of Naylor’s first-year squad are there or thereabouts in contract talks.

Cookson, meanwhile, says the fractured jaw with which he went through the pain barrier in the play-off final defeat by Rochdale is expected to have healed naturally by the time the players are recalled for pre-season work next month.

Neither the injury nor the heartbreak of Rochdale’s 32-18 triumph stopped him celebrating his 25th birthday two days after the final.

He said: “When I signed the two-year deal I was hoping we’d win promotion in 2013 and then spend 2014 in the Championship, after which I would have looked at my future.

“That’s not going to happen now. Play-offs can be cruel, but I guess if we were to finish third or fourth next year and then go on and win the final we might think differently.

“I was late signing last year so I didn’t get a good pre-season. This year the pre-season work is bound to benefit me and I’m looking forward to it.

“My jaw is still sore, but a few weeks of rest will do it good and it will probably have healed by the time we get down to business.

“I like to think that under the guidance of Scott and ‘Spanner’ (assistant coach Lee Spencer) I’m improving as a player and, more specifically, I’m getting better as a centre.

“Having been a top centre in Super League for many years, Scott knows all there is to know about how to play the position and he is able to give me tips and tactical advice and talk to me about tricks of the trade.

“It’s a key part of my development as a player.”

The club’s end-of-season Awards Night will be held at Whitebank on Saturday, October 19 (7pm for 7.30pm).

Tickets cost £20, including three-course meal, presentations and entertainment.

To reserve places ring Janet on 0161 624 9630, ext.70552, ignoring switchboard messages.