Luke Stenchion signs for Oldham

Date published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

PROP Luke Stenchion has signed a new one-year deal which gives Oldham RL Club’s pack-building operation for 2012 a “massive” boost, says coach Tony Benson.

Of the 22 players contracted to Roughyeds so far 13 are forwards and three of those are new to the club in prop Danny Heaton (30) and second-row pair Paul Smith (34) and Neil Rigby (25).

[singlepic id=696 w=320 h=240 float=left]The others are Valu Bentley, Dave Ellison, Jason Boults, Chris Clarke, John Clough, Liam Gilchrist, Danny Whitmore, Alex Thompson, Danny Langtree and the latest to put pen to paper, Stenchion.

Benson, who expects more pack signings to be announced this week, said: “We’ve got to be strong in the forwards and with that in mind Luke Stenchion’s decision to stick with us for a second season is a massive coup.

“He can do the lot — tackle, pass, make the hard yards. He’s a true pro.

“Opponents carrying the ball up the middle are wary of going near him, that’s how hard he tackles.

“He contributed massively in every game he played last season, and that was evident when he wasn’t available for our play-off tie at Rochdale where we were beaten 39-18.”

A 25-year-old Yorkshireman, Stenchion played in 16 of a possible 18 Roughyeds games in 2011 after signing in early April. He had previously played as a youngster for Leeds Rhinos and then for Batley and for Dewsbury.

Oldham is his first club this side of the Pennines and he arrived seven months ago with a little bit of trepidation.

“I need not have worried,” he recalled. “Everyone at the club made me feel welcome and now I feel very much at home. Wherever you go in rugby league you meet lots of nice people on and off the pitch.

“Travelling wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, either. On a good run I can do Dewsbury to Oldham in 35 minutes.”

Hoping to become a chartered accountant, Stenchion said rugby league gave him an “escape” from the daily task of study and the occasional ordeal of examinations.

He added: “Oldham is a good club. I’m pleased to commit for another year and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be a big year for us.

“The new signings will bring loads of experience with them and that will help to develop the young guys who are coming out of the reserves.

“But the biggest plus for me is that we will be getting back the services of most of the players who were long-term injury victims last year. They were out so long, it will be like having new players at the club.

“If we can stay healthy we should be challenging.”