Oldham snap up young centre

Date published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

OLDHAM RL Club have made their fifth new signing of the close season with the capture of local boy Jake Shoel, a young centre from Huddersfield Giants.

The 19-year-old is the third of the five newcomers to carry the “made in Oldham” trademark, having played all his junior rugby at Waterhead before attracting the attention of Super League clubs.

He spent a year on scholarship at St Helens and then, aged 16, moved into Yorkshire where he signed a three-year deal with Huddersfield.

Having been released by the Giants on completion of his agreement at the end of last season, he has signed a one-year contract with his hometown club.

And like many of his new Whitebank team mates — Danny Langtree, Josh Crowley, Paddy Mooney, Mo Agoro, Liam Thompson and Tom Whitehead to name but a few — Shoel is keen to show that there IS life outside Super League for young players who have sampled academy rugby at that level and are now prepared to take a different route in order to follow their dream.

He was a regular town-team player in his Waterhead days, progressing one step further when he won county honours at under-15s.

Super League clubs were soon knocking on the door of his home in Royton and for the last four years he has progressed at that elite level, spending most of that time gaining experience in Huddersfield’s under-18s side and later in the reserves.

Like scores of talented young players with Super League clubs he was a victim of RFL restructuring below first-team level.

On his release, he took time out in Australia for a couple of months, but he is now home and ready to start life afresh in Oldham as a part-time rugby pro and a full-time apprentice tiler.

“I’m looking forward to a new start with Oldham and to the challenges that lie ahead in Championship One,” said Shoel, who will have his first training run with his new team mates at Oasis Academy tonight.

“I had a great three years at Huddersfield, but now it’s time to move on in a different direction and I’m pleased to be joining my hometown club and one which seems to put a lot of faith in younger players.”

A key factor in Shoel’s arrival at Whitebank was Oldham boss Scott Naylor’s trust in Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson’s recommendation.

Anderson and Naylor were Bradford Bulls team mates for years and it was to Anderson that Naylor turned first when it became known that Shoel was available.

“Paul spoke highly of the boy, and so did another senior member of the Giants coaching staff, Kieron Purtill,” said Naylor.

“We also did more intelligence work on him and no matter which way we turned we always got the right answers from people who should know.

“He seems to tick all the right boxes. He’s young, aggressive, willing to learn and an Oldham lad, and that always helps.

“As an outside back he’s exactly what we’ve been looking for.

“More specifically, he’s a centre — and good young centres are a rare breed these days.

“We are looking forward to having him on board.”

* Fans are reminded that season tickets for 2014 — same price as last time — are available by post (cheques to ORLFC) at Oldham RLFC, c/o Oasis Academy Oldham, Hollins Road, Oldham OL8 4JZ.

They are also on sale (cheque or cash) at the refreshment van at Whitebank between 11.30am and 1pm each Monday, Wednesday and Friday up to and including Friday, December 20.

For further information ring the club on (0161) 624 9630 extension 70552.