Oldham sign Tom Woodcock

Date published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010

OLDHAM RL Club have snapped up their second player from the stricken Blackpool Panthers club in 23-year-old threequarter Tom Woodcock.

The former Leigh Centurions centre comes to Whitebank, on a one-year contract, just a few days after his former Blackpool team mate John Clough.

“Roughyeds are arguably the best supported club in the division,” said Woodcock, “and that was a very big factor in my decision to sign. We saw in the games against Blackpool last year what great fans they are. The fan base is terrific by this division’s standards. I will love being a part of that.

“I know a lot of the Oldham lads, and from what they have told me and from what was said when I had my signing talks with Chris Hamilton (chairman) the club sounds a brilliant place to be.

“Hopefully, the least we can aim for is to be up near the top and competing. At best we can aim to go one better than in the last four seasons and finally win promotion.”

Woodcock becomes the sixth new boy to go straight into Tony Benson’s senior squad, following forwards Andy Isherwood, Liam Gilchrist, Ben Wood and Clough, and centre Jack Bradbury.

Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “Tom was a youngster at Leigh when Tony (Benson) was coach there in 2006. Tom was only 19 at the time and Tony was on the verge of giving him his first-team chance, but then Tony left the club and Tom fell under the wing of the new Leigh coach, Darren Shaw.

“He is coming to Oldham for all the right reasons. He likes what he has seen and heard about our club, and he will provide more competition in the backs.”

Wigan-born Woodcock, who works full time in a gym in the town, played on the wing at Blackpool last year, but he regards himself as a centre and he has played most of his career in that position.

Having started out as a full-back or a half-back in his early days at Leigh East, he later played open-age rugby as a 15-year-old at Wigan Bulldogs before signing for Leigh, aged 16.

He had five years at Leigh before transferring to Blackpool at the start of the 2009 season.

“At first, we were on fire,” he said, “but when things started to go wrong and we heard about the money situation it began to go downhill. We closed ranks in the dressing room and carried on playing for each other, but it wasn’t a good place to be.”

It was all to end in tears, but Tom is smiling again now and eagerly looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his rugby league career.