Birthday Joy! Phil signs new deal

Date published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BIRTHDAY boy Phil Joy, 22 today, has signed a new one-year contract to set the ball rolling on Oldham RL Club’s squad-building plans for 2014.

The deal commits the Oldham-born prop to his hometown club for a second full season no matter what happens in the forthcoming Championship One play-offs.

Chairman Chris Hamilton, coach Scott Naylor and his No 2 Lee Spencer are delighted the Leeds University high flyer has opted to continue his rugby education at Whitebank.

Having landed a degree in maths and economics, Joy will soon be returning to Leeds to study for a masters in banking and international finance.

Said Naylor: “He’s a clever lad and good luck to him on that, but I’m more concerned with what he does on the rugby field and in the front-row.

“When we signed him last autumn he was a blank canvas, a raw recruit with size and potential. Less than a year on he’s our No 1 prop and the most improved player at the club.

“As a prop, he plays well above his years and he can only get better with experience. We firmly believe there is no limit to what he can achieve.

“He has shown he can handle the tough stuff, especially in our 22-4 win at Oxford where the home forwards targeted him, but without success. He came through that testing examination with flying colours, and that was another box he had ticked in his overall development.

“I’m honest and I tell it as it is, but I know with Phil that he will listen and then respond. I can’t ask for more than that.

“He’s a pleasure to work with; a coach’s dream.”

In early season the former Waterhead junior was last in the prop pecking order behind Jason Boults, Liam Gilchrist, Chris Tyrer, Callum Marriott and on-loan Nathan Mason.

Tyrer and Marriott fell by the wayside, Mason went back to Huddersfield and in came another front-row loan man in Matthew Haggarty from Barrow.

Throughout these changes Joy steadfastly beavered away to work his way through the order and to eventually finish top.

Said Joy: “It was a challenge to break into the first team on a regular basis, but I think I’ve progressed well.

“We’ve got a couple cracking coaches. I like the way they tell you what you are doing wrong– and why. You can then take steps to put it right.

“I got more games than I anticipated, which was a big plus. And my decision to stay for another year at least was influenced by the fact that Scott and ‘Spanner’ will also be here to carry on the good work we’ve started this year.

“We’ve got a great chance in the play-offs. We’ve worked hard all year; the team spirit is good. But we’ll have to be at our best, and we know that.”

That’s a view shared by chairman Hamilton, who said: “I’m delighted Phil has again shown his commitment to his home-town club..

“He has come through the ranks at the club and there’s nothing more pleasing than to see a local lad making the most of his opportunities locally.

“He has shown throughout the season what a great prospect he is. He is looking forward to continuing his development next year and we are delighted he will be doing that at Oldham.”