Now “Ropes” puts pen to paper

Date published: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
STEVE Roper, Oldham RL Club’s little midfield maestro, is the latest Roughyeds’ player to sign a new contract covering the 2015 season.
Following the lead set by Josh Crowley, Danny Langtree, Kenny Hughes and new-boy Jarrod Ward, the goalkicking half-back quickly put pen to paper when a new offer was tabled.
“I’m enjoying my rugby at Oldham,” said Roper, 27, who joined Roughyeds on loan from derby rivals Rochdale Hornets last April.
He made his debut in a 30-22 win at Gloucester All Golds on May 25 and never looked back, playing in the remaining 15 games, taking over goalkicking duties from club skipper Lewis Palfrey and quickly emerging ¬†as playmaker-in-chief on the left side of the Roughyeds’ attack.
Oldham eventually negotiated his release from Rochdale and he became a fully-fledged Roughyeds’ player on a deal to the end of the season.
Said coach Scott Naylor: “Since he first came to the club, Steve’s been like a breath of fresh air and we are delighted to re-sign him.
“He’s very professional in everything he does and from the day he first walked into the club, after six years at Rochdale, it was quite obvious he was delighted to be with us.
“Most importantly, he’s a very good player, but he’s also a great lad to have around the dressing room. He likes a laugh, but as soon as it’s switch-on time he automatically goes into game mode.
“When he came, he knew he had a point to prove and he has done that over and over again.
“He was key to our left-side attack proving so successful in the second half of the season. And his vision and understanding of how we wanted to move forward as a team was a huge factor in our play-off wins at Hunslet and at York.”
Looking back on his first five months at Whitebank, Roper said: “I was keen to get to Oldham in the first place because of good things I had heard about the club. And as soon as I settled in I knew I had made the right decision.
“I couldn’t wait to get rid of the ‘loan’ tag === and now I’m made up that I’ve signed for another year because the new League One is going to be a cracking division and I think we can do well in it.
“Despite coming from Rochdale, I was made to feel very welcome by everybody at Oldham. I like playing here and that’s important because any player needs to be contented and happy at a club if he’s going to play to the best of his ability.”
Wigan-born Roper was in the Rochdale team that beat Oldham in the 2013 Grand Final and in the Oldham side that was beaten 17-16 by Hunslet in extra time in the 2014 final.
“To lose a final by the golden-point method is a cruel way to go out,” he said. “But it’s gone now and we have to move on.
“With five teams coming down from the Championship it’s going to be a tough division next year, but if most of the lads sign on again, and they seem to be doing, I don’t see any reason why we can’t be up there challenging at the very least.
“I’m particularly looking forward to playing against Rochdale, who we’ll meet at Spotland on the opening day of the league campaign.”