Oldham players commit

Date published: Thursday, October 20, 2011

OLDHAM RL players who are re-signing for next season have welcomed the RFL decision to promote four clubs from Championship 1.

“It provides us with a window of opportunity,” said utility forward Valu Bentley, the latest of last season’s regulars to pen a new one-year deal covering 2012.

The 29-year-old New Zealander becomes the 21st player now under contract to Roughyeds for next year.

They include four youngsters who have been promoted from the reserves plus three seasoned newcomers for the pack in prop Danny Heaton (30) and second-row pair Paul Smith (34) and Neil Rigby (25).

Looking ahead to his third season at Oldham, Bentley added: “We’ve got unfinished business, like winning promotion, and we’ve got to do it this time round. With four going up we’ll never have a better chance.

“We’ll be well equipped, I’m sure. We seem to be keeping most of the players from last season, topped up by new signings and the boys from the reserves.

“We’ll have some real quality, and a nice blend of youth and experience, and it will make for hot competition for places. That’s got to be good.”

In 2010, when he missed a large chunk of the season due to injury, he made 16 appearances, nearly all of them at loose-forward.

Last season he figured in 25 of the 27 competitive games, playing variously at prop, second-row and loose.

“He has the ability to switch roles within a game, and that’s very difficult to do,” said coach Tony Benson.

“He can play like a prop and carry the ball up but if required he can change roles almost at the flick of a switch and start to use the ball from wider out.

“I also like his enthusiasm, his professionalism, his support play and the way in which he tackles anything that goes anywhere near him.

“He adds a lot to the team with his enthusiasm alone.”

Since last season finished, Bentley has been spending his Sunday mornings helping out with coaching at amateur club Culcheth Eagles, near Leigh, where his son Tane plays for the under-10s.

A market trader, he runs ‘Kiwi Textiles’ and stands markets throughout the region —- Royton on Thursdays —- selling bedding, towels, quilts and many other textiles.