Eagles swoop for Neal, TysonDate published: Monday, October 12, 2015
ADAM Neal and George Tyson, key men in Oldham RL Club’s League One promotion season, have departed the Roughyeds to sign full-time professional contracts for Sheffield Eagles.
Eagles boss Mark Aston liked the look of Neal and Tyson when Oldham put up a brave show in losing 44-20 against Sheffield last March in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and he has since watched them at least twice in league games at Whitebank.
They were offered new part-time deals to go up to the Championship with Oldham in 2016, but opted instead to go full time with a Sheffield outfit that has finished in the top four of the Championship four times in the last five seasons and reached the Grand Final in seasons 2012 and 2013.
Despite Oldham’s disappointment in losing them, they go with good-luck handshakes and the best wishes of chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor.
Said Naylor: “Adam and George played a big part in our promotion, but sometimes when players opt to move elsewhere you have to understand they are moving for career reasons and wish them all the best.
“We offered good contracts and tried to compete, but Sheffield are going full time; they have a much bigger budget than we have; and they will be perceived as being one of the top clubs in the Championship.
“Despite our best efforts we couldn’t compete. They’ve been presented with a big opportunity and they’ve taken it.
“We have to be happy for them. They came to Oldham, enjoyed themselves here and did everything they possibly could to help us to win promotion.
“We are sorry to see them leave, obviously, but we appreciate what they did for us while they were here and we wish them all the best in their new ventures.”
Tyson (22) joined Oldham on long-term loan from Salford in 2014 and, on getting his release from the Super League club at the end of that year, signed a one-year contract with Oldham to cover 2015.
In total, he has scored 16 tries in 39 games for Roughyeds, starting as a back-row forward, but making most of his appearances this year as a centre.
Front-row forward Neal (25), who won the players’ player-of-the-year award at Oldham’s end-of-season celebration dinner, left Salford in 2013 after making 45 Super League appearances as a full-time pro.
Disillusioned with the sport, he had a year out before Roughyeds persuaded him to pick up the pieces at Whitebank as a part-time pro. In his one season here, he played in 24 of a possible 28 games and enjoyed a memorable season as leader of the pack.
Said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton: “This is a reflection of what life is all about in the Championship where we are competing with clubs who can offer full-time livelihoods.
“Both players wanted to take the opportunity that was presented to them and we fully understand the reasons for that.
“They worked hard for us and they were good for us, but I like to think we were good for them too.
“Adam had fallen out with the game and wasn’t even playing when we reignited his enthusiasm. George had a tough time at Salford before he joined us on a fully-fledged basis and also got his enthusiasm back.
“We have been good for each other. We thank them for all their hard work and their contributions to a fantastic season, and we wish them well.”
Sheffield boss Aston said: “I would like to thank Chris Hamilton and Scott Naylor for their assistance and professionalism in helping us to sign George and Adam.
“The chance for them to join a club that will be operating full time is a great opportunity for these two players and Oldham fully understand and appreciate that.”