Giant Mason comes on loan

Date published: Thursday, May 1, 2014
OLDHAM RL have further demonstrated their determination to challenge for Championship One honours by completing their second loan signing of the week.
Hot on the heels of scrum-half Steve Roper’s arrival at Whitebank from Rochdale Hornets comes big prop Nathan Mason from Huddersfield Giants.
Both are likely to go straight into the squad for Sunday’s exciting-looking home clash with Oxford, Tony Benson and four or five former Oldham players.
Oldham-born Mason (20), 6ft 5in tall and weighing in at 16st 5lbs, is no stranger to Roughyeds fans, having done a great job here last July while on a similar short-term loan from his Super League club.
He scored two tries in four games — all Oldham wins.
Lauding him as “a great lad with a great attitude”, Scott Naylor said he was delighted Mason was returning to his home-town club for a second spell.
Of his performances for Oldham last year in wins at Oxford (22-4), at Gateshead (44-12) and at Whitebank against South Wales Scorpions (50-22) and league leaders North Wales Crusaders (28-10), Naylor said: “During his time with us Nathan made a huge impact on the team and on our season.
“He played well in every game and I was bitterly disappointed when Huddersfield called him back.
“Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to get him back here again when the opportunity arose.”
Echoing his coach’s high regard for Mason, club chairman Chris Hamilton said it was a win-win move which would benefit Oldham and also help the player’s development.
He added: “Nathan is young and, in some elements of the game, raw. But he’s big, aggressive and keen to learn — and he can give us a big lift while helping to bring on our other young forwards at the same time.”
As a full-time pro at Huddersfield and a member of the first-team squad — No 25 — Mason was in the Giants party that went to Portugal in January for pre-season training.
He is described on the Giants website as “a highly-rated young prop with huge potential”.
He made his Super League debut against Bradford Bulls in the Giants’ final league game of last season, ahead of the play-offs.
He has since had a spell on loan in the Championship with Huddersfield’s partner club, Batley Bulldogs.
There is every chance that, come Sunday, Oxford’s Oldham-born prop Chris Clarke will be at the centre of a front-row battle for supremacy against three forwards who were also raised in the local amateur game —- Michael Ward, Phil Joy and Mason.
Joy’s younger brothers, Richard and Andrew, may play for Oldham’s under-20s side against the North-East Academy at Whitebank on Saturday (2.30pm kick off).