Edwin here to gain experience

Date published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
EDWIN Okanga-Ajwang has pledged his allegiance to Oldham RL Club during his season-long stay on dual registration from Salford Red Devils.
The 19-year-old centre, who is in line to make his Roughyeds debut in Cumbria on Saturday, regards a season’s experience of first-team rugby at Championship One level as a key element of his apprenticeship.
The agreement between the clubs caters for Edwin to be made available for Salford’s senior academy squad on occasions when he is not required by Oldham.
He doesn’t intend that to happen very often.
“I’ve spoken to Scott (head coach Naylor) at length and we both know what’s expected of me and why I’ve come to Oldham,” he said.
“I’m here to learn and to gain experience of senior rugby, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
“My long-term goal in rugby league is to be good enough to play regularly for Salford in Super League, but my main focus at the moment is on earning a regular place in the Oldham side.
“I watched the game against Hemel last Sunday and I’m looking forward to being part of the squad and part of a club which has a lot of potential.”
Salford signed him on a scholarship when he was 16 — six short years after he arrived in this country for the first time, never having seen or heard of rugby league.
He was born in Poland, of a Polish mother and a Kenyan father.
The family settled in Yorkshire when he was ten; and it was his primary school in Halifax which first introduced him to the sport from which he aspires to carve a full-time career.
He was hooked the first time he played. And after six years with amateur club Siddal he was snared by Salford, for whom he has already played two full Super League games against Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings.
He was also called up last year to train with the England academy squad.
He’s likely to be in the squad which takes on amateurs Egremont Rangers at the Copeland Stadium, Whitehaven on Saturday in round three of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
Full-back Tom Whitehead and centre Ben Wood had treatment last night for knocks or pulls picked up in the Hemel game, but both are expected to be fit by weekend.
Josh Crowley was Oldham’s only represntative in this week’s Kingstone Press Championship One team of the week.
Try of the week was James Hill’s last-gasp effort at Whitebank which earned Hemel two points from a 20-20 draw.
Top team: Sean Morris (Oxford); Essad Al-Zubedi (Hemel), Aston Wilson (Hunslet), Michael Brown (Hemel), Ben Dent (York); Matty Beharrell (Gateshead), Danny Thomas (Gloucester); Aston Bell (York), Liam Hood (Hunslet), Jack Aldous (York), Josh Crowley (OLDHAM), Jason Payne (Gateshead), Ashly Bateman (South Wales).