GOALKICKING half-back Jamie Dallimore has turned down approaches from several rugby league clubs to sign a new one-year deal with Oldham.
Workington Town led the Cumbrian chase, ahead of Whitehaven and Barrow — three of the four promoted clubs now preparing for their entry into an extended 14-club Championship next year.
There were others too, among them an established second-tier club and Tony Benson’s Championship One new boys Oxford, who have already raided Whitebank to snare John Clough and Alex Thompson, two of Dallimore’s former team mates.
None of them, though, could lure hot-property Dallimore away from the club that gave this 24-year-old ex-Great Britain amateur international stand-off his first big break as a part-time professional.
“Despite other offers he remained loyal to Oldham, and I like that,” said the Roughyeds’ new team boss Scott Naylor.
“He’s a very good player and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“As somebody who spent a year in the reserves before making a name for himself last season he is proof that the development systems at the club are working successfully, and that augurs well for the future.”
Delighted chairman Chris Hamilton added: “We identified Jamie as a key member of our plans for 2013.
“A lot of clubs were chasing him, but he handled it in an exemplary manner. He was honest and up front with us all the way through and the way he went about things was a credit to him. I told him that when he signed.
“We are delighted he is going to be with us again next year and I’m sure the fans will be as well.”
Key factors in Dallimore’s decision were the prospects of working under Naylor’s tutelage and the offer of a new contract which met with his approval.
He said: “A few clubs talked to me, but as long as there was a decent offer on the table I was always going to stay at Oldham. All I wanted from the start was the right deal.
“That isn’t to say that it’s all about money. There’s a lot more to it than that.
“I’ve been happy at Oldham since the day I first walked into the club to play for the reserves. I like the set-up, I like the fans. I get on well with everyone at the club.
“I’m at my best as a player when I’m happy, so why would I want to leave.
“We don’t have the best facilities in the division, but there’s a lot more going for the club than that.
“Scott Naylor’s appointment as coach was another positive, you’ve only to look at his background in the game and his achievements as a player.
“He’ll draw talent to the club and we can only benefit from that.”
Dallimore captained Great Britain amateur under-23s in the Ukraine in 2010 and then left Wigan St Cuthbert’s to play a star role in John Hough’s championship-winning Roughyeds reserve team the following year.
He became a fully-fledged member of the senior squad last season when he was an automatic choice as skipper Neil Roden’s half-back partner with the added responsibilities of goalkicker.
His ability to score solo tries out of nothing with lightning-fast reactions, speed off the mark and a sidestep to match the best made him a fans’ favourite and won the admiration of opposing coaches