Now ‘Thompo’ signs new dealDate published: Wednesday, November 4, 2015
AFTER losing in the 2013 and 2014 Grand Finals, Scott Naylor’s Oldham RL players felt huge relief when they beat Keighley Cougars in this year’s Promotion Final at Whitebank, said workaholic forward Liam Thompson.
Speaking after signing a new one-year contract, Thompson said: “For most of us it was achieved at the third time of asking. It was a fantastic feeling, but it contained a lot of relief after our disappointments in the two previous finals.
“It was a case of ‘Wow, we’ve finally done it !’”
Since that memorable September day, Thompson (23) has spent several weeks touring Europe, but he’s back now to get ready for the start of pre-season training later this month and to look for a full-time job in the field of sports science.
Having enjoyed by far the best of his three seasons at Whitebank, it was a given that he would be offered a new deal — and that he would sign.
By means of comparison, injury restricted him to 16 games in 2013 and 12 in 2014, but this year he played consistently impressively in all but one of the Roughyeds’ 28 games in cup and league and was a strong contender for Naylor’s player-of-the-year award.
In the absence of Lewis Palfrey and Sam Gee, he captained the side at Oxford in the final game of the regular season when Roughyeds clinched top spot and received the League Leaders’ isnShield.
For the second year in a row, Josh Crowley and Danny Langtree were named joint players of the year, but Naylor said: “One or two others pushed them all the way and ‘Thompo’ was right up there among them.
“I’m delighted he’s staying with us because he’s a quality forward with an outstanding attitude and work ethic.
“He’s a tough cookie, he never knows when he’s beaten or tired and he’s going to be a big player for us in the Championship.
“He has all the qualities I like in a forward. It was typical of him that when I played him at prop for the first time in his career he had a blinder.”
Thompson was delighted to enjoy an injury-free 2015 after missing much of 2013 with a damaged shoulder and a lot of 2014 with a shattered eye socket and cheek bone after a clash of heads with Kenny Hughes.
He said: “This year, the more games I played the more confident I got and it obviously helped that the team was playing so well.
“The Championship will be a big hurdle to conquer, but the core of the side will be the same, the coaching staff is the same and we are bringing in additional quality to top things up. I’m quietly confident we’ll be okay.
“We’re all looking forward to the start of training, while being a bit apprehensive too because we know how hard it will be under Kane Daniels. We know what’s coming.”