Fogarty on board for next season

Date published: Wednesday, September 7, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club have given fans a play-off week boost by re-signing up-and-coming centre Matthew Fogarty on a new one-year contract.

The talented 19-year-old, who has made a big impression in his first season at Whitebank, has penned a fresh deal to November 30, 2012.

“He’s an exciting prospect, with the potential to be anything he wants to be,” said head coach Tony Benson. “He’s working hard on improving his game. He is keen to learn and he is progressing well.

“For one so young he is exceptionally powerful. He’s courageous, aware of what’s going on around him and he makes good decisions.

“I’m delighted he will be back on board next year.”

A bricklayer, Fogarty intends to build his rugby career on solid foundations at Whitebank and in an environment he enjoys.

“It’s great here,” he said, “and although there is still a lot to play for this season, I’m already looking forward to next.

“The other players have been great with me, and that means a lot. I quickly settled in.

“Nobody knows what the future holds. Wherever it takes me, it takes me . . .  but right now I’m having a ball at Oldham and enjoying every minute. I’m taking one step at a time.

“Sunday’s play-off at Rochdale should be a cracker. Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity to play. I’ve played in only one of the three derby games this year, but this will be the biggest by far.”

Fogarty, a try-scorer in Sunday’s 24-20 win at Workington, trained with the first-team squad last night, as did three others who have been shining in the reserves  — Michael Ward, Jamie Dallimore and Tom Wood-Hulme.

Full-back Ben Heaton, who missed the Cumbrian trip with an ankle injury, will be given until Saturday to prove his fitness .

Fogarty (elbow), centre Mark McCully (knee) and half-back Carl Forber (groin) all trained normally..

“We’ll be pretty much at full strength, so I’ve got some tough selections to make,” said Benson.

“I love play-off time. It’s exciting, invigorating, and the element of sudden-death gives it a real kick.”

Hornets forward Gary Middlehurst will miss out after picking up a one-match ban by the RFL disciplinary committee last night .

Oldham’s Chris Clarke, David Ellison and Lucas Onyango won’t play again this season because of long-term injury, although Bruce Johnson might be fit to return in the reserves’ play-off clash with Widnes at Widnes RU club on Saturday (2.30pm).

First-team calls will dictate John Hough’s squad selection.

“We’ve had a good season,” he said, “but to have a great season you need silverware — and that’s our focus.”

Tickets for the under-18s presentation night at Whitebank on Friday (£3 adults, children free) are on sale at the Roughyeds office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton.