OLDHAM have signed a young man with a point to prove in 20-year-old loose-forward Liam Thompson.
He was “gutted” not to get a first-team chance at Widnes Vikings last season and he is banking on the door of opportunity opening up for him at Whitebank.
The sixth and youngest of the Roughyeds’ new boys, Thompson follows his former Vikings under-20’s team mate Josh Crowley into Scott Naylor’s new-look squad.
“I can’t wait to play some first-team rugby,” he said.
“I was bitterly disappointed when I wasn’t given a run at Widnes — gutted, in fact.
“When I get my chance at Oldham I’ll grab it with both hands.”
Both he and 21-year-old second-row man Crowley were released by Widnes as a direct result of the RFL’s restructure of age-related rugby beneath first-team level at Super League clubs.
For the last few years clubs in the elite competition have run under-18s and under-20s, but they will now reduce to one such squad at under-19s.
Added Thompson: “It has resulted in lots of lads being released by Super League clubs, and Josh (Crowley) and I were among them. If you were over 19 and not on a first-team contract you were released.
“Oldham gave me a call and everything moved on from there.”
Wigan-born Thompson played his early rugby at St Jude’s and Hindley and signed for Wigan, aged 16, after playing for England Schoolboys.
After three years working his way through the academy system at the Warriors, he moved to Widnes.
He is currently a second-year student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, studying sports science.
Like Crowley, he was in the Widnes reserve team (under-23’s) which topped the reserves championship table in 2011 only to be beaten by Roughyeds in a thrilling play-off final at Whitebank.
With signings announced so far Naylor’s squad is taking shape like this:
Backs: Neil Roden, Jamie Dallimore, Dale Bloomfield.
Forwards: Josh Crowley, Danny Langtree, Phil Joy, Liam Gilchrist, Mark Hobson, Chris Tyrer, Jason Boults, Kenny Hughes, Sam Gee, Liam Thompson.
Crowley, Langtree, Joy, Thompson, Hughes and Gilchrist are all aged 23 or under.