Crowley’s two-year dealDate published: Wednesday, September 30, 2015
OLDHAM forward Josh Crowley has signed a new two-year contract as promoted Roughyeds gear up for life in the 12-club Championship.
Opponents next season will be Halifax, Sheffield, Leigh, Featherstone, Dewsbury, London Broncos, Workington, Batley, Whitehaven, Wakefield or Bradford and Swinton or Keighley.
“Getting to play in the higher division is something I’ve always aimed for,” said the former Widnes youngster, who was 24 last Thursday.
“I had a chance to join a Championship club last year, but I decided to stay at Oldham and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
“The season that’s just finished was fabulous for everyone at the club, capped off when we won the League Leaders Shield, the Championship Trophy and clinched promotion.
“I love playing for Oldham and I’m going up with a lot of the lads who have been together for the last three seasons.”
A year ago, he said, coach Scott Naylor and chairman Chris Hamilton convinced him he would be better off staying at Whitebank rather than taking a leap into the unknown with the Championship club that was chasing him.
He added: “At first, I found it hard to walk away from a move to the Championship. Scott said he wouldn’t stand in my way, but he didn’t feel it was the right move for me in the long run.
“He strongly advised me to stay. I have a lot of faith in him and in the club so I made the decision that turned out to be the best I ever made. “
By the time his new deal runs out in 2017, he will have been at Whitebank five years — and to date he has played in all 77 Oldham games since he made his debut in a Northern Rail Cup defeat at North Wales Crusaders in March, 2013.
Looking ahead to next season, he said: “We’ll do better than a lot of people expect. We’ve already signed some good new players and if we keep the core of the squad together, like we have done for three years, we’ll do okay.
“I’ve played a few times in direct opposition to Craig Briscoe, who is a very good player. We’ll be competing for a second-row spot, but that’s good. Competition is healthy. It keeps everybody on their toes.”
Naylor said Crowley’s record as an ever-present over three seasons said it all about his ability and his resilience and how highly he was rated by the coaching staff.
He added: “His work threshold is phenomenal and he has a terrific attitude. He’s one of the best back-rowers in League One and I’m confident he will shine in the Championship.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him kick-on at the higher level and showing Widnes what a good player they let go in 2012.”