Gregg McNally

Date published: Thursday, May 20, 2010

ROUGHYEDS have received a double boost ahead of Sunday’s big game against Hunslet Hawks at Whitebank with the signing of Gregg McNally and the decision of the RFL disciplinary committee to give Wayne Kerr a sending-off-sufficient verdict.

Both will be in Tony Benson’s squad for a game that has the potential to pack Whitebank to the rafters.

Fans are advised to get to the ground early and, to avoid late congestion at the two turnstiles, to buy their tickets in advance from the club office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton up to 5.00pm tomorrow (Friday) or from 1.00pm onwards in the clubhouse at Whitebank on Sunday.

For the early-birds there’s a cracking curtain-raiser, timed for a 1.45pm start, between the under-10s of St Anne’s and Waterhead. Dave Charles, one of our match-day statisticians, is also coach of the St Anne’s team and he says that at this level in Oldham there are some fantastic young players. Well worth watching, certainly!

Gregg McNally

McNally, the 19-year-old Huddersfield Giants and former Whitehaven half-back, is not a dual registration signing, but he is here on a month’s loan. He has trained with Roughyeds this week and is now ready to drag a Roughyeds jersey over his head for the first time.

“Gregg is an exciting young player,” said Benson, “and I am delighted that he is joining us to give us something extra in the halves. He has good hands and a good kicking game, and he is a crowd pleaser because he knows how to score tries.

“He has also bulked up since he has been at Huddersfield and that has helped him in his defensive work.”

McNally, a Cumbrian, shot to prominence with three tries on his debut for Whitehaven in a high-profile televised game. More good performances for his hometown club won him a place on an England Academy tour of Australia.

He later left his native heath to join Huddersfield Giants on a full-time contract. He has shirt number 28 in the Giants’ senior squad, but he has had a spell back with Whitehaven on loan — to gain experience — and now he has been allowed to come to Oldham on a similar arrangement.

Roughyeds wish to publicly thank Richard Thewlis, Nathan Brown and Paul Anderson at the Giants for their help.

Explaining events that led up to McNally’s capture, Tony B said Roughyeds had been looking around in the hope of strengthening at half-back since Neil Roden broke a bone in his foot three weeks ago.

He added: “In the short-term Danny Whitmore stepped up for us for the good of the team and I want to record my thanks and appreciation to him for the good job he did in difficult circumstances.

“Danny is a hooker, not a half-back, but he answered my call and put the team’s needs before his own and that says a lot about him and a lot about the spirit within the Oldham camp. I thought he and Matty Ashe produced some good stuff together last Sunday against London Skolars.

“We always felt, however, that once Neil was out of the frame we needed a little bit extra at half-back. A lot of decision making has to take place among the halves and because of that you really need specialists in there and players to whom half-back decision-making comes naturally.

“Gregg is a young fellow, but he has played all his rugby as a half-back and a lot of it with Whitehaven in the Championship.

“It doesn’t matter these days whether he is a scrum-half or a stand-off. The only difference now is that one plays on the left and the other on the right. In the modern game you don’t have a scrum-half and a stand-off; you have two half-backs, one on the left and one on the right.

“We have some tough games coming up and Gregg will give us what we need as a vital decision-making component of the team.”

Chairman Chris Hamilton added: “Gregg is a player who can do the unexpected. He has the ability to open up a game and hopefully he will be doing that for us during the time we have him on loan.

“He has played much of his senior rugby with Whitehaven in the Championship — some of it this season — and he will also have benefited from his experience as part of the full-time set-up at Huddersfield.

“He lives in Huddersfield now and he is really keen to get over to Oldham and to get on with it.”