Ford ‘one of ours now’ — ScottDate published: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
FORTY-SEVEN games and 45 tries since he made his Oldham RL debut on loan from Salford in 2013, Jon Ford has finally signed the contract that makes him a fully-fledged Roughyeds player.
We can call him our own now — and that’s really good news,” said coach Scott Naylor, of the former England academy centre, who had no hesitation in accepting Oldham’s one-year offer when his three-year, full-time deal at Salford had run its course.
Ford, who will be 22 on Sunday, follows Adam Files, Gareth Owen and George Tyson in coming to Oldham initially on loan from Salford before signing on a more permanent basis.
Tyson has since moved on to join Championship high-fliers Sheffield Eagles on a full-time deal that runs to the end of the 2018 season, but he goes with Naylor’s blessing and the knowledge that Roughyeds have helped him on his way.
Said the Oldham boss, last season’s League One coach of the year: “It’s good to know that young players who have been on loan with us are then happy to sign on a proper basis. It shows we must be doing something right.
“Jon Ford is the latest player to do that and it’s great to know that he’s now one of ours.
“Technically, he’s a ‘new’ signing, but he’s been with us on and off, on loan or dual-reg, for the past three seasons and he’s been a big part of everything we’ve achieved.
“He’s a great lad and it speaks volumes for the Oldham club that he’s decided to leave a Super League club and sign for us as we attempt to find our feet in the Championship.
“He knows where the try-line is — a natural gift and not something that can be coached — and his scoring stats (45 tries in 47 games for Oldham) is phenomenal. On top of that he works hard and he is very easy to coach.”
In his first loan spell at Whitebank, when he was 19, he scored 21 tries in 15 appearances to top the Championship One charts with three more tries than Rob Massam of North Wales Crusaders.
A product of St Helens amateur club Blackbrook, Ford toured Australia with England Academy in 2012, having graduated through the Salford youth set-up like so many of his new team mates at Oldham.
Said Ford: “I can’t claim to be a new boy at Oldham, but the fact that I’m no longer at Salford will make a huge difference to the amount of coaching I get from Scott (Naylor) and ‘Spanner’ (assistant boss Lee Spencer).
“During all my loan spells I rarely trained at Oldham on Tuesday nights, so I’m going to be much more involved now and I’ll benefit from learning more of Oldham’s coaching techniques rather than those at Salford where I spent the last three years as a full-time pro.
“We have a young squad with a lot of energy so it will be interesting to see how we go in the Championship. We’ll give it a good crack and I feel quietly confident that we’ll hold our own and stay up.”
OLDHAM have announced their first pre-season warm-up game which will be at Keighley Cougars on Sunday, January 10 — a re-run of last season’s Promotion Final — with a 2pm kick-off. Like last year, Roughyeds hope to have three friendlies in the run-up to the opening league game against London Broncos at home on Sunday, February 7.