Oldham swoop for Neal

Date published: Thursday, November 13, 2014

ADAM Neal, a prop with 45 Super League games for Salford on his CV, has turned down other offers to become Oldham’s second new boy in their squad for 2015.

Whitehaven and Swinton were among Roughyeds’ rivals for Neal (24), who left Salford after the 2013 season to take a year out.

Refreshed and eager to get back into rugby league, he has signed a one-year contract to bolster a Whitebank squad which Scott Naylor believes will eventually be strong enough to mount a serious challenge at the upper end of the new Kingstone Press League One.

Said the Oldham boss: “He did the right thing to bow out for a bit. He had lost some of his appetite for the game, but the break has done him a world of good. The old hunger is back.

“He has lots of Super League experience and once he has done a full pre-season with us I’m sure he’ll emerge as one of our pack leaders.

“He is another player who we are very lucky to have at Oldham.”

Neal played his junior rugby for Salford Juniors and then Crosfields before becoming a Warrington Wolves scholar when he was 14.

He made his senior Warrington debut, aged 17, in a Challenge Cup win at Leigh and in the same year he played twice for England Academy against the Australian Institute of Sport, taking the man-of-the-match award in an England win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

He moved to Salford in 2010 and made his Super League debut, aged 20, as a starting prop in a 30-26 win at Bradford Bulls.

In his four seasons at Salford he twice won the club’s Young Player of the Year award.

By the time he temporarily turned his back on the sport, he had played 48 times for Salford’s first team, all but three of those appearances in Super League.

“When I was ready to start again I had a lot of serious thinking to do because I received a few offers, some of them from clubs in the Championship,” said Neal.

“Initially, Lewis Palfrey and Adam Clay ‘sold’ Oldham to me, then I was impressed when I spoke to Scott (Naylor). He gave it to me straight — what the club was all about and what it was trying to achieve.

“I liked his honesty, and he convinced me that the environment at the club was one into which I would fit comfortably.”

Signings announced so far:

 Backs: Jarrod Ward, Steve Roper, David Cookson, Jake Hughes, Steven Nield, Lewis Palfrey, Tom Dempsey.

Forwards: Josh Crowley, Danny Langtree, Kenny Hughes, Michael Ward, Phil Joy, Richard Joy, Adam Files, Sam Gee, Adam Neal.