Neil awarded testimonial

Date published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
ROUGHYEDS legend Neil Roden, whose club records for tries and appearances are unlikely to be broken, has been granted a 12-month testimonial by the RFL.
It will run from January 1, 2014 and give the 33-year-old former club captain a calendar year in which to celebrate his 11 seasons at Oldham with a series of fund-raising events.
In his two spells at the club —- from 2000 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2013 — he scored 113 tries in 296 appearances in cup and league.
Half-back Roden, who had previously announced his retirement, said he owed much to club chairman Chris Hamilton for acting as his testimonial advocate in talks with the sport’s governing body.
He added: “I’m proud of my club records. And given that these days players don’t seem to stay at one club for as long as I did I can’t see them being beaten.”
Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor have both hinted that Roden might be found a new role at the club next season as part of the backroom team.
The chairman added: “Neil has made a massive contribution over the years not only to the Oldham club but to rugby league in general.
“He was a model professional, never a minute’s trouble and a fantastic player.”
Coach Naylor said: “Neil deserves all the credit he gets. Much of his final season was spent as a valued member of the backroom team and he handled the transition brilliantly. He was as professional about it as anyone could ever be and I’d like to keep him at the club.”
Speaking for the fans, ORSA chairman Nigel Marland said supporters would be proud and privileged to make sure his benefit year was a success.
He added: “On and off the field Neil has done Roughyeds proud for more than a decade. Fans now have the chance to show their appreciation, and I know they will.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, has given a fascinating insight into events which led up to Naylor’s appointment as head coach a year ago.
He said: “I was amazed he was out of a job in rugby league, given his playing record and the years he had spent on the coaching staff at Salford.
“When we met he was a bit intimidating and I felt he was interviewing me, rather than the other way round.
“I asked myself: Can I work with this guy ? He was desperate to get back into the game and I was equally keen to change things at the club. I was absolutely certain he would do that.
“A year on I take my hat off to him and also to his No 2, Lee Spencer. They have done a great job.”
Naylor said of Spencer: “I regarded my choice of No 2 to be a massive call. I got it right. He’s not afraid to tell me when I’m wrong — and that’s what I wanted and needed.
“As for the players I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch in my first season. Most of them are staying. They are special.
“Some left during the season and that was because they didn’t fit into the pattern of what this club stands for.
“We hope to bring in more new players shortly, but we’ve already got a good nucleus signed on and I’m more confident about next season than I ever was about 2013.”