Now Whitehead signs

Date published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
OLDHAM RL coaches Scott Naylor and Lee Spencer don’t always see eye to eye, but they agree on one thing —- Roughyeds fans have still to see the best of Tom Whitehead.
The 22-year-old utility back, whom they have known since he joined Salford as a 15-year-old, is the latest member of last season’s Oldham squad to sign a new one-year deal.

Having been recruited half way through last season, on his return from a playing stint in Australia, he turned out in only three senior games, picking up a hand injury in his last appearance against Rochdale at Whitebank in the play-offs.

In his earlier outings, he had a cracking debut at full-back in the home win against North Wales Crusaders, but he didn’t fare as well at half-back in the draw with Gloucester at Whitebank in the penultimate game of the regular season.

Said Spencer: “We’ve known Tom a long time and we know what he’s capable of. He’s full of promise and very adaptable.

“Given more game time and more experience in senior rugby he’s potentially a class act.”

Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “It didn’t do him any favours to sign for us in mid-season, having not played for several weeks.

“His opportunities were limited, but we always saw it as a stop-gap season for him. All we asked is that he did the best he could in the circumstances, and he certainly did that.

“This time he will benefit from a full programme of pre-season training and he’ll go to the starting gate with everybody else, having been properly prepared.

“Scott and ‘Spanner’ (Spencer) are confident that fans will see the ‘real’ Tom Whitehead next season.”

The former Waterhead junior is still having physiotherapy on his damaged hand, but he expects to receive the all-clear in good time to start pre-season training next month.

In his formative years at Salford he wore the “utility” tag, having played at full-back, wing, half-back and even hooker.

He said: “Half-back and full-back are my favourite spots, but I’m happy to play anywhere although I haven’t yet seriously discussed with Scott what plans he has for me. There’s plenty of time for that.

“Unlike last year, I’ll get a good pre-season so I should hit the ground running.”