Now Gee puts pen to paperDate published: Wednesday, October 21, 2015
VERSATILE vice-captain Sammy Gee — “the sort of character every dressing room needs,” says coach Scott Naylor — is the latest Oldham RL player to pin his colours to the Roughyeds’ mast for next season.
Aged 28 and one of the squad’s senior citizens, play-anywhere Gee has signed a new one-year contract which takes him into a fourth season, as promoted Oldham get ready to lock horns with Championship heavyweights like Bradford Bulls, Leigh Centurions and Sheffield Eagles.
In 60 of a possible 77 games since he first signed, Wigan-born Gee has played with distinction at hooker, full-back, centre and loose-forward, but he didn’t figure at Oxford when Roughyeds lifted the League Leaders’ Shield or in the next game when Naylor’s men accomplished a three-year mission by beating Keighley at Whitebank to seal promotion.
A two-match ban ruled him out of the Swinton and Oxford games and then he narrowly failed to win selection in the promotion final when, despite his disappointment, he still led the team’s victory celebrations and was one of the last players to leave the club that night.
His suspension for being sent off at Newcastle — for the first time in his career — opened the door to others, who grabbed their chance.
“It’s a squad game and these things happen,” he said. “It was a fantastic few days for everyone at the club, crowning a great season, and now we push on to see what we can do in the Championship.
“I had no hesitation in signing again because it’s a homely club, like a family. We all get on with each other and you just want to keep coming back year after year. I’ve never felt like that anywhere else since I left my amateur club.
“It’s going to be tough next season but if Kane Daniels is still with us we’ll have one of the best conditioners in the business.
“Scott and ‘Spanner’ (assistant coach Lee Spencer) know the game inside out and we’ve got players who are more than capable of playing at a higher level and are hungry to challenge themselves.
“I think we’ll surprise a few people.”
Of his ability to fill several positions, he added: “I’m happy to do my best anywhere in the side. I’m just happy to be in the 17 so I don’t feel like I did on promotion-final day.
“I enjoyed full-back. People said I did okay, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, to be honest. Anyway, now ‘Lippy’ (Richard Lepori) has come back we’ve got one of the best in the division.”
Said Naylor: “Sammy played in different positions all over the park and he didn’t look out of place in any of them. That’s a measure of the naturally-gifted player that he is. I could put him anywhere and rely on him to do a good job.
“He was fitter this year than he’s ever been and it enabled him to show his true quality.
“He’s one of our most experienced players too; and definitely the type I want and need for the big challenges that await us.”