“Exciting” squad takes shape

Date published: Wednesday, December 3, 2014
DESPITE competing for players against clubs with more financial clout, Oldham RL are putting in place an exciting squad that will do well in the new League One next season.
That’s the unsolicited view of chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor, whose 2015 recruitment drive isn’t over yet.
“We’ve a couple of announcements still to make and two pieces still to put into the jig-saw,” revealed Hamilton.
Most of the players from last season have re-signed on new deals, several of them having rejected approaches from other clubs.
George Tyson and Gareth Owen, who were full-time at Salford last year and only on loan to Oldham, are now fully-fledged Roughyeds, as are new boys Adam Neal, Jarrod Ward and Jack Holmes.
Including youngsters Jake Hughes, Tom Dempsey and Richard Joy, who have still to make senior debuts, the club has 21 players on contracts for 2015.
Hamilton described how the club lifted itself off the canvas following the knock-out punch of a 17-16 extra-time defeat by Hunslet in the Championship One Grand Final.
He said: “I called a meeting with Scott (Naylor). He really thought he was going to get the bullet (because he had failed to deliver promotion), but I’m not that brave !
“Seriously, he came in two years ago to change the club’s culture and he has done that and more besides.
“We have blips — the nature of sport — but we always bounce back and that’s great credit to the players and coaching staff.
“With due respect to every single player we’ve signed or re-signed, the most important signing was that of Scott on a new three-year contract. I’m confident he and ‘Spanner’ (assistant boss Lee Spencer) can carry us forward.
“We discussed in depth why we fell at the final hurdle and we concluded that we were perhaps short of a little bit of extra quality that makes all the difference in big games.
“We’ve got that quality now, and we haven’t finished yet.
“We’ve had to win a battle to get to where we are because the five clubs which came down from the Championship got parachute payments which gave them more financial resource than we had.
“But we offer more than money —- we offer the right culture and we always try to treat people in the right way.”