Neil Roden to hit 250 this weekend

Date published: Thursday, September 23, 2010

STAND-OFF Neil Roden’s fourth Grand Final in Oldham colours against York City Knights at Warrington on Sunday will coincide with his 250th appearance for the Roughyeds.

The history of the new Oldham club spans 13 seasons and across those years no other player has turned out in as many games as Neil or scored as many tries — 98.

It was originally thought that Sunday’s final would be his 249th outing and that he was still three tries short of reaching his century of touchdowns.

Further scrutiny of the records, however, has revealed that the original statistics did not include a Northern Ford Premiership game against York Wasps at Hurst Cross on January 6, 2002 in which Roden scored one of the six Oldham tries in a 32-16 win.

Later that season York Wasps went out of business and failed to complete their fixtures so their statistics for the season were expunged from NFP records.

Nevertheless, the annals of the Oldham club show that Roden played and scored against York on that January day eight years ago and no one can take that away from him.

“It’s great to know that I’ll see up the 250 on Sunday,” said 30-year-old Neil. “What a game in which to do it. Two more tries would be nice as well, but that’s perhaps asking too much.

“All that matters is the right result. Any final is going to be tough, but if we can play to our full potential I think we should be okay. We haven’t hit our best form in any of our previous three finals in this current run and we didn’t hit top note either in my first final for the club back in 2001 when we were one game away from Super League, but lost to Widnes.

“I missed the 2008 final against Doncaster because I pulled my hamstring in the semi-final win against Rochdale, but I played in 2001, 2007 and 2009 and we lost them all. Time we did a bit better, I think.”

Roden was 19 when he first pulled an Oldham jersey over his head in a 61-26 hammering at Featherstone on March 26, 2000. He remained on the bench for the next two games against Sheffield and Hunslet before wearning No 7 for the first time in a 28-16 win at Batley.

Oldham were to win seven games in a row after that hammering at Post Office Road, including victories at Sheffield and Hull KR, and the young Wiganer quickly made his mark and displayed the skills that were to be his trademark over his many years at the club.