Oldham RL secure Wood-Hulme

Date published: Wednesday, January 5, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club have moved swiftly to ring-fence their latest recruit, young prop Tom Wood-Hulme, by signing him on a one-year contract.

The rugged 20-year-old Widnes-born front-rower looked strong and mean when helping Roughyeds to win the Law Cup less than a week after training with the squad for the first time.

Coach Tony Benson had been tipped off that Wood-Hulme was looking for an opening into Championship or Championship One rugby after four years in the development squads at Widnes Vikings, followed by brief spells with Northampton RU Club, St Helens and Salford City Reds.

Said Benson: “I like what I’ve seen of Tom in his first few days with us so we’ve given him the opportunity he craved. He hasn’t settled anywhere since leaving Widnes, but he has been very honest with us about that.

“Northampton RU saw something in him and took him down there, but he quickly became homesick and wanted to get back into rugby league.

“He had a brief stay at St Helens and a somewhat longer spell with Salford in the reserves, but we have had long talks with him and we are hopeful that he will feel at home at Oldham and will finally realise his potential.

“We were looking for another front-rower to fill Wayne Kerr’s shoes — to be hard to stop, to draw in defences and to inflict a few bruises with his physicality.

“Tom hasn’t had the benefit of pre-season training so his match fitness on Sunday wasn’t quite up to par. When he got tired, though, he didn’t throw in the towel. That is a good sign of what he’s made of.”

A nephew of former Saints and Great Britain centre star Eric Hughes, Wood-Hulme signed for Widnes from amateurs Blackbrook when he was 15, along with a teenager who was destined to go far, Richie Myler.

When Tom’s four-year deal with Vikings was up, a rugby union scout took him to Northampton, but he found it difficult to adjust to life in the East Midlands.

“I lived in a house on my own,” he said, “and it didn’t feel right. I became homesick. On top of that I quickly discovered I preferred rugby league.

“I’m back living in Widnes now, and longing for a fresh start at this level. After two or three games to build up my match fitness I feel sure I will go well.

“I enjoyed my Oldham debut in the Law Cup triumph — and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I can’t wait for the next match.”