Rising star up for Scorpions challenge

Date published: Friday, August 19, 2011

THE youngest member of Oldham RL Club’s senior squad is on stand-by for the oldest as Roughyeds head into their last home league game of the season at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off).

Marcus St Hilaire (34) is doubtful with a dead leg and his right-centre spot against South Wales Scorpions will go to 19-year-old local lad Matthew Fogarty if the former Super League star fails a late test.

Coach Tony Benson will pick from a 20-man squad, including four who didn’t figure in last Sunday’s impressive 38-16 win at Rochdale — hooker John Clough, prop Liam Gilchrist, Fogarty and utility forward Andy Isherwood.

With the play-offs looming Benson has lost his biggest prop with the departure for Australia of Luke Sutton.

Dave Ellison and Bruce Johnson are still not ready, after long-term injuries, but Benson has at his disposal the ever-reliable and rock-solid Jason Boults and Luke Stenchion with back-up provided by emerging youngsters Michael Ward and Gilchrist.

Squad: Heaton, Brocklehurst, St Hilaire, Fogarty, McCully, Robinson, N Roden, Forber, Boults, M Roden, Whitmore, Clough, Stenchion, Ward, Gilchrist, Isherwood, Bravo, Casey, Noone, Bentley.

Roughyeds are approaching the business end of the season in confident mood, having won five of their last seven games including victories against three teams who are above them in the league, Whitehaven, Keighley Cougars and Rochdale Hornets.

Over the course of the season they have beaten four of the other five play-off contenders, the exception being Workington Town, who won 31-12 at Derwent Park in March and 24-22 at Whitebank three weeks ago.

Assistant coach Martin Roden said the mood in the camp was one of growing confidence and self-belief.

He added: “We’ve had a couple of blips, losing by two points to London and Workington, but in the same period we’ve beaten Whitehaven and Keighley and destroyed Rochdale for the third time this season.

“Despite a load of major injuries within the squad we are starting to build momentum and showing signs that we are running into our best form at just the right time to do something in the play-offs.

“We’ve two league games left and if we can win them both we’ll be flying into the play-offs.”

Roughyeds reserves, already assured of second place in the Reserves Under-23s Championship, play their last league game before play-offs at Whitehaven tomorrow, kick-off 2.30pm.