New boys up for big challenge

Date published: Thursday, July 30, 2015
OLDHAM RL new boys Will Hope and Elliot Liku are relishing the prospect of joining a top-of-the-league squad that will be gunning for promotion over the next two months.

They know they’ve been brought in for that sole purpose and they recognise the benefits of coach Scott Naylor’s selection rotation plan.
Said Liku (19), a prop on loan from Leigh Centurions: “I’m focused on helping Oldham to achieve their goal. If I can play a part in that, then bring it on.”
Added Hope (22), a back-row forward: “I’ll do the best I can to help Oldham out and, hopefully, to help them to get over the line.
“I haven’t played for a while, but I know lots of the lads from our Salford days and it was good to see loads of familiar faces at Tuesday’s training session.”
He passed through the youth development schemes at Salford alongside Lewis Palfrey, Adam Files, Adam Clay, Adam Neal, George Tyson, Gareth Owen, Jon Ford and Richard Lepori.
Hope played a dozen games for Sheffield Eagles in the Championship last season, while on loan from Salford, and also played for Ireland in the European Championships.
He revealed that he was offered a 2015 contract by Sheffield, but turned it down because he wanted time away from the sport to deal with other matters in his life and to recharge his rugby batteries.
Liku, captain of Leigh Centurions reserves, said he was “massively” looking forward to testing himself in senior rugby for the first time.
He went on: “One of the big factors in my agreeing to the loan deal was the opportunity to work for Scott (Naylor) and to gain experience at a higher level.
“He and my dad are friends and when I captained a Leigh team in a pre-season friendly against Oldham, he warned me he would tell all his forwards to run at me. I thought he was kidding, but I soon discovered he wasn’t.
“I must have done okay because I got the man-of-the-match award and now I’m here at Oldham working for him.”