Oldham RL secure Paul Noone for 2011

Date published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club have beaten off competition from several rivals to sign Paul Noone, the former Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings and Barrow Raiders back-row forward.

One of the most experienced pack men on the Championship and Championship One circuit, 29-year-old Noone’s CV includes 119 Super League outings with Warrington, 47 appearances with Widnes and 59 games with Barrow where he played in 2009 and 2010.

He also had seven Super League games for Harlequins while on short-term loan to the London club from Warrington in 2006.

Said Roughyeds team boss Tony Benson: “Paul’s capture represents one of the last pieces of the jigsaw in our team building for 2011, but it was certainly well worth the wait.

“We wanted somebody to put more experience into our young squad and Paul is the ideal fit. He’s seen it all at the top level of club rugby. He is aggressive in defence and he runs good lines in attack.

“He’s also a good bloke to have around and that is always an important factor to us as a club when we are doing our recruiting.

“He will add a lot to our squad and give us a strong back-row with a lot of competition for places.”

Widnes-born Noone, who has signed a one-year deal, played in 28 of Barrow’s 31 games last year and thought at one stage that he would be staying at Craven Park for a third season.

“I had two good years there,” he added, “but that’s in the past and I’m looking forward to a new start at Oldham. I’m still only 29 with plenty left in the tank and my aim is to help Oldham to go one better this year and finally get promotion.

“I spoke to a few clubs but Chris Hamilton (club chairman) and Tony Benson convinced me that Oldham was the right club for me. To get to four Grand Finals in a row is no mean feat.

“They’ve got a good squad with good off-field backing. There is a lot of potential on and off the field and I like the idea of striving with all the other lads to put the club back where it belongs in the Championship.”

It isn’t known yet whether Noone will make his debut in Sunday’s pre-season clash with Whitehaven at the Whitebank Stadium (3pm kick off) for the right to carry off the SEAT Trophy.

Dave Ellison, Chris Clarke, Valu Bentley and Marcus St Hilaire didn’t play in last Saturday’s 36-10 friendly defeat at Featherstone so the squad on Sunday could show significant change, especially if Noone were to come into the reckoning.

Boss Benson, meanwhile, has given his young squad a vote of confidence and has told fans to read “absolutely nothing” into the defeat at Featherstone.

He said: “The squad we are putting together excites me. We have a blend of youth and experience and I am really happy about the young guys.

“The game at Featherstone wasn’t all about winning. Had it been we would have approached it differently. It was about looking at a lot of players, some of them for the first time, to determine how we can improve them individually and, in so doing, how we can get the best out of the squad.

“From the coaching point of view we were building for the season ahead — not chasing a result.

“We were striving to create a situation in which players who are asked to step up to the first team know exactly what they are expected to do and are thus able to provide continuity. That way you minimise the chance of blips.

“We are getting a bit closer to finding the right first-team mix and hopefully that will be reflected in the squad we turn out on Sunday at Whitebank.”

Whitehaven are current holders of the SEAT Trophy, but Roughyeds are out to pick up their second piece of silverware this year, having already got their hands on the Law Cup thanks to their 34-28 win against Rochdale Hornets on January 2.