“Hobbo”puts pen to paper

Date published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
IN a collision sport like rugby league, team bonding and camaraderie are essential ingredients for success.
That’s the view of Oldham’s tough-tackling second-row man Mark Hobson, the latest player to commit to Roughyeds for a second season.
This time last year only the now-retired Neil Roden was under contract for 2013, but 12 months on 26-year-old Hobson is the 16th player to put pen to paper on a new agreement.
And that, he believes, could make all the difference in giving the nearly men of 2013 the flying start they need to become the big achievers of 2014.
“It looks like most of the boys are staying and we’ve already got a great team spirit,” said Hobson. “Most of us were new to the club last year, as were the coaching staff, and it took us a few weeks into the season to get to know each other and to hit it off together.
“This time everything is in place, we’re big mates with a real good crack and we’ll be aiming to get off to a flying start.
“Despite grand-final defeat we had a very good season (finishing second only two points behind promoted North Wales) and if we can do that starting from scratch we should do even better second time round.
“The clubs coming down, Hunslet and York, will each be a force so we’ve got to take it game by game and make sure we don’t slip up, like we did early last season, especially at home to Oxford.”
With half a dozen seasons behind him at this level, the former Rochdale grafter accepts that he and Jason Boults (30) have a responsibility to keep an eye on the pack’s many younger forwards.
He added: “I’ll be 27 by the time next season starts. Some will argue that a forward doesn’t hit his best until then. I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 23 or 24, but the younger end will keep reminding Boultsy (Boults) and me that we are getting on a bit.
“Now that ‘Rats’ (Roden) has retired, Boultsy is the dressing room fossil and I’ve still a bit of catching up to do on him.
“The young lads did brilliantly last season and to a large degree it was down to the boss (Scott Naylor) and ‘Spanner’ (his No 2 Lee Spencer).
“They created a superb environment and I had no hesitation in re-signing to have another crack at that elusive goal of promotion.”
Spencer described Hobson as “robust and honest” and added: “What you see is what you get. He’s a 100 per cent man, a no-nonsense competitor.”
And chairman Chris Hamilton added: “The people who most appreciate ‘Hobbo’ are his fellow players. He’s nothing flashy, but he’s in there with the nitty-gritty.
“He’s the type of player every team needs, and his vast influence in the dressing room shouldn’t be underestimated either.”