New boys in action at Barrow

Date published: Thursday, January 30, 2014
NEW signings Brett Robinson, Ben Wood, Danny Whitmore and Paddy Mooney will all be thrown in at the deep end when Oldham RL Club have their first warm-up game ahead of the 2014 season at Barrow on Sunday.
“For starters, they don’t come any tougher than this,” said coach Scott Naylor. “It will be a grueller —tough, very physical and played on a heavy pitch.
“Short of going to Featherstone or Halifax it’s as demanding as you’ll get within the two Championship divisions.
“And Barrow have the added advantage of already having played, and beaten, fellow Championship side Keighley Cougars at Craven Park.
“I would have preferred to play them at Whitebank, but we’ve got Swinton and Leigh at home in the next fortnight so I suppose we can’t grumble.”
Kick-off time at Barrow is 2pm and admission prices are £10 adults, £7 concessions and £3 under-16s plus a nominal extra for transfer to seats.
A fifth new boy, 19-year-old centre Jake Shoel from Huddersfield Giants, won’t be involved because he hasn’t been seen at training for several weeks.
Added Naylor: “The other four have settled in well — no issues, no problems and, like all the other players, they have trained hard and conscientiously since last November.
“Warm-up games are particularly useful for new signings because they are all about getting used to each other, forming new combinations and giving me and ‘Spanner’ (assistant coach Lee Spencer) the opportunity to look at how they fit into the scheme of things.
“New boys apart, our three games in February will be preparation for the real thing in terms of acquiring match fitness and becoming battle hardened before the opening league game.
“I’m still two or three players short of having a very strong squad. I’m on the borderline — delighted with the players I’ve got, but needing a few more before the start of the league campaign at the beginning of March.
“Up to now we’ve been unable to get the players we’ve been chasing in recent weeks and if we were to pick up some injuries on Sunday we would be struggling.
“Hopefully, this will be resolved sooner rather than later and certainly by the time we go to South Wales in our first league game.”
Oldham-born duo Whitmore and Wood need no introduction to Roughyeds fans. Both have had previous spells at the club, although Wood only briefly in the early part of the 2012 season when Tony Benson was boss.
However, both players are well known to Naylor and Spencer, having worked under them as teenagers when they were all at the club then known as Salford City Reds.
Wigan-born half-back Robinson (23), who was at Oxford last season, has been signed to fill a key role alongside club captain Lewis Palfrey at the heart of the attack.
Mooney, a young prop, has spent the last two years in the development squads at London Broncos. Naylor was tipped off that he was available after moving north to study at Manchester University and Roughyeds moved quickly to acquire his signature.
* Fans’ favourite and club stalwart Neil Roden hopes supporters will turn out in numbers on Saturday night to support his first testimonial event — a quiz night at Whitebank. Admission is £2, pay on the door, 7.30pm for 8pm.