Holroyd believes in Oldham promotion

Date published: Friday, April 20, 2012

NEW signing Graham Holroyd believes he and the squad’s other “golden oldies” can steer Oldham RL to promotion.

The 36-year-old stand-off, signed on a short-term deal to fill-in for injured captain Neil Roden, becomes the squad’s new senior citizen ahead of 34-year-old Paul Smith, his former Halifax team mate.

Mark McCully and the Roden cousins, Neil and Martin, are 32; Lucas Onyango is 31; David Ellison is 30.

Paul Noone will celebrate his 31st birthday on Sunday, hopefully by maintaining his usual high standards in a Roughyeds’ win at London Skolars.

Said Holroyd, who scored 650 points in 151 Super League games: “There are some great kids at the club and a lot of very experienced players.

“We’ve all been round the block and are coming towards the end of our careers.

“Miles Greenwood is a lot younger. I know him from our Halifax days and I know how good he is.

“There are good players here and they deserve to do something special and take Roughyeds up to the Championship.

“I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t think I could do a job, which I hope will involve a little bit more than playing.

“I’m looking to go into coaching and I would like to help the young half-backs and look at their attacking structures.

“The club has had to do it tough in the 16 years since Watersheddings went, but Chris Hamilton has done a great job and Tony Benson has stuck with his team through thick and thin over the last few years.

“They are very ambitious and they, like the supporters, deserve some reward.

“Things are looking up. I was in the clubhouse after the cup win over Barrow and it was like a madhouse, that’s how much it meant to fans.

“Even with four going up it will be tough to get there, but the club definitely has the players and the set-up to go all the way.”

Holroyd will be in the squad at White Hart Lane on Sunday and he is expected to wear Oldham’s jersey for the first time.

He added: “It’s 20 years since I turned pro, but I still have a lot of enthusiasm for the game.

“It will take me time to get into the swing of things again, but I’m sure my experience will carry me through.

“Rugby league is more taxing on the body than union (he has been at Preston Grasshoppers) and at my age it will ┬átake me a couple of days to get over a game, but I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being involved again.”

Benson won’t finalise his squad until tomorrow, but he won’t have the services of suspended duo John Clough and Danny Whitmore.

He will need to find a replacement hooker to give Martin Roden a lift and he could go for either Alex Thompson, who has played there in the past, or Valu Bentley.

Benson will need no reminding that Skolars won the corresponding fixture last year 36-34.

Of the side likely to be on duty this time only six played last year —McCully, Shaun Robinson, Jason Boults, Martin Roden, Noone and Bentley.

“You go to London these days expecting a tough battle,” said the Roughyeds boss. “They have a lot of Super League experience and several former full-time players.

“They play on a small pitch with a big side, and they make the most of that situation.”