New Prop for Oldhams front row

Date published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FORMER Widnes, Halifax and Swinton prop Danny Heaton is to kick start his career with Oldham.

Aged 30, he plans to weigh in at 17 stones by the time he starts playing for Roughyeds early next year.

He tips the scales now at 18st 7lbs, but after a full season out of the game he says he can easily shed surplus pounds over the next three or four months.

“I need to trim down,” he said, “but I don’t want to go below 17 stone because weight and bulk are features of my game.

“Props peak somewhere between the ages of 27 to 33. That’s when they are at their strongest and also at their most knowledgeable.”

Heaton, who has signed a one-year contract, is the first of Tony Benson’s 2012 newcomers — an experienced heavyweight who will be expected to provide the pack with an old head and to beef-up the front-row

Warrington-born, he began his rugby career with the Wolves where he spent two years in the reserves.

He then had two seasons at Swinton, one at Widnes and two at Halifax before he went back to Swinton for the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.

At the end of the 2010 season he decided to have a break.

Explaining why, he said: “I wasn’t enjoying my rugby any more. I had lost the appetite for it. Tony (Benson) rang me about joining Oldham back then, but I wasn’t ready to sign for another pro club.

“I enjoyed the break, but then I had a game for Warrington amateurs Woolston, my old club, and got the itch back again.

“That’s when I decided to see if Tony was still interested in signing me and, glad to say, he was.

“Now, I can’t wait to get cracking. Knocks and niggling injuries are long gone. I’ve been training on my own for quite a while and I should be fit and ready for the off by the time Oldham’s pre-season training schedules are put in motion.”

An electrician by trade, he believes he can play as well in the second-row as he can at prop.

“It’s a while since I was last picked there,” he added, “so I’ve come to the exclusion that I’m now type-cast as a prop.”

Of the 11 players who have signed for Roughyeds for next year, there are only two props so far —-Heaton and Liam Gilchrist.

Dave Ellison, who missed the second half of last season after severely dislocating an elbow, is named in the mythical 2011 Co-operative Championship 1 all-stars team.

Roughyeds’ reserves, champions of the Reserves Under-23s Championship, will stage their presentation night at Whitebank on Friday. For tickets (£5 including hot supper) go to the club offices in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton (0161 628 3677).