David Tootill

Date published: Saturday, May 19, 2012

DAVID Tootill, our loan-signing prop from Hunslet, hopes that his tenure at Whitebank for the next month might lead to a more permanent stay with his hometown club at some point in the future.

He lives in Oldham, works in Dukinfield and has been a Roughyeds fan since he was knee high to a grasshopper.

The 25-year-old former Leeds Rhinos, Harlequins and Batle Bulldogs prop, now on a one-year contract at the South Leeds Stadium, is in contention to make his debut against Whitehaven at Whitebank tomorrow (Sunday, 3pm kick off), along with his fellow loanee, Lewis Reed of Keighley Cougars.

Both trained with the squad for the first time on Thursday night.

It was a case of turning back the clock for Tootill, who had two games for Roughyeds on loan from Leeds in 2005.

Before that, as a boy, he regularly used to watch Oldham train, so keen was his support of the club as he was growing up in Oldham.

So how did he come to arrive once more on the Roughyeds doorstep after seven years away, including two as a full-time pro in the capital city, followed by three at Batley Bulldogs?

He said: “I missed the last couple of games at Hunslet so I asked to go out on loan and where better for me than to go to Oldham?

“I’m a proud Oldhamer — always have been — and I will be very proud to play for Oldham again.

“As a boy I was always a massive fan. Life took me elsewhere, but I vividly recall playing against Castleford and Hull KR while on loan from Leeds in 2005. I was 17 or 18 at the time, but I’m a bit older and wiser now.”

While at Harlequins — the club now renamed London Broncos — Tootill suffered a serious knee-cap injury. He ultimately moved north to Mount Pleasant where he had two impressive seasons in 2009 and 2010, only to miss much of the 2011 season after damaging his sternum.

Up to then his full-time living was from rugby, but he recognised that the time had arrived for him to find a job outside of the game and he was successful in acquiring the position of internal exclusions manager at Astley Sports Centre in Dukinfield, formerly Dukinfield High School.

He added: “I’m very excited about joining Oldham. I haven’t looked forward to a game (against Whitehaven) as much as this for a long time.

“There was a terrific atmosphere at training on Thursday and it was great to see a lot of Oldham lads at the club, many of whom I grew up with in schoolboy and junior rugby in the town.”