OLDHAM RL have signed their 19th, and youngest, member of their 2013 squad with the capture of Rochdale-based Callum Marriott, who was on a full-time contract at Salford City Reds last year.
The baby of the bunch, a prop, is 19 and younger than the squad’s other teenager, former Leeds Rhinos winger Mo Agoro, by four months and six days.
Despite his youth, he has already sampled Super League, having played off the bench in Salford’s 34-18 win against Hull KR at The Willows in March, 2011 when he was still two months and 12 days short of his 18th birthday.
“I’ll never forget that night, but 18 months on I guess I’m still a baby in the rugby sense,” said Marriott, who played for Salford’s under-20s team under the watchful eye of coach Lee Spencer, now the No 2 at Whitebank.
“It will be good to link up again with Spanner (Spencer). I was full-time at the City Reds, so I need a job now. New club, new job, new life. I’m looking forward to it.
“Everybody will be out to impress the new coaches. Let’s hope we can knit together as a team and as a squad.”
Marriott’s late father Karl played for Rochdale Hornets before, tragically, he collapsed during a training session 14 years ago and died a short time later. The player judged to be man of the match in Hornets-Oldham Law Cup games receives the Karl Marriott Memorial Trophy, established and presented by Oldham RL Heritage Trust.
Callum inherited his father’s love of rugby league, starting out at Mayfield and later playing for Littleborough amateur rugby league club where he was spotted by Salford and taken down to The Willows in 2009.
He was an instant success in the club’s Foundation side before signing professional forms a week before his 16th birthday.
He quickly moved through the under-18s to the under-20s, making his Super League debut along the way to become one of the youngest forwards ever to play in the elite competition.
No one has charted his fledgling career any closer than Spencer.
Head coach Scott Naylor’s right-hand man said of Marriott: “He has bags of potential. He’s young, powerful and physical. Nothing worries him.
“He can play back-row as well as prop, but as far as I’m concerned he’s a front-row forward in the making.
“You’ve got to remember he’s only 19, and most props don’t mature and hit their peak until they are 26 or 27.”
Marriott is the sixth front-rower to be signed behind Jason Boults (29), Danny Langtree (21), Phil Joy (21), Liam Gilchrist (23) and Chris Tyrer (27).
Naylor, Spencer and club chairman Chris Hamilton talked to the players at Whitebank last night about the challenges of the season ahead and what will be expected of members of the squad.
Coming seven days before the start of pre-season training, the meeting was arranged for players old and new to get to know each other and for Naylor and Spencer to introduce themselves and to give the squad an idea of what to expect over the next three months of intense preparation for the 2013 Championship One campaign.
Naylor said afterwards: “It went well. I can’t wait to get cracking now.”