New-boy Mason in the deep end

Date published: Friday, June 28, 2013
OLDHAM’S new on-loan prop Nathan Mason will go straight into the Roughyeds’ squad for Sunday’s trip to the North-East.

The 19-year-old Huddersfield Giants forward trained with his home-town club for the first time last night and immediately looked relaxed and comfortable in his new surroundings, said Roughyeds’ assistant coach Lee Spencer.

He added: “He’s a young lad with a bit of size about him, similar in build to Jason Boults, but taller.

“He’s athletic, with good core skills and with lots of good habits, as you would expect of a young player who has had several seasons in a Super League environment.”

Roughyeds now have four young players on loan —- Mason (19), Halifax half-back Anthony Bowman (21), ¬†Salford centre Jon Ford (19), who has scored eight tries in the last five games, and Salford hooker Adam Files (20), the club’s leading try scorer with 10.

Bowman won’t get his third game for Oldham against Gateshead Thunder at South Shields FC (3pm kick off) because he tore a muscle in his shoulder in the 26-18 defeat of Hemel Stags at Whitebank last Sunday.

It remains to be seen who will partner in-form skipper Lewis Palfrey at half-back, probably Kenny Hughes or veteran Neil Roden.

Winger Mo Agoro is fit to return to the side after a two-game absence with an ankle injury, while Liam Thompson has also been cleared to play despite a training pitch accident which required him to have stitches in a facial wound.

Of the side that beat Hemel last time out, Bowman is injured and impact forward Jordan Walne, who made his present felt off the bench, has moved to Workington Town on loan with the blessing of his parent club, Salford City Reds.

That’s where latest acquisition Mason comes into the equation — a fourth prop to go into battle up front intermittently with Liam Gilchrist, Phil Joy and Michael Ward.

Team (from): Lepori, Nield, Cookson, Ford, Bloomfield, Palfrey, Gilchrist, Gee, Joy, Langtree, Crowley, Hobson, Files, Hughes, Ward, Roden, Thompson, Agoro, Mason.

Gateshead go into this clash of second-bottom v second-top having lost their last five, although they have strengthened this week with the capture of former York and Hull KR full-back James Haynes and two young prospects from Leeds amateur club Myton, Brad Krebs and Ricky Hough.

In stark contrast, Oldham have climbed into second spot on the back of six wins from their last eight outings.

Said Spencer: “Every game now is a cup final for us.

“It’s looking like any one of three to finish top and go up automatically. Rochdale can do us a favour at North Wales Crusaders on Sunday, but whichever way that game goes we can gain something from it, so long as we make sure we do the job at Gateshead. That’s the main thing.

“Thunder got off to a flying start when they played at Whitebank. We’ve got to stop them doing that again and that’s one of the things we’ve been working on in training this week.”