Saints teenager comes in on loanDate published: Friday, June 12, 2015
THREE players are now chasing the two half-back spots at Oldham RL Club following last night’s loan signing of 19-year-old David Hewitt from St Helens.
Although the agreement is initially for one month there is potential to extend the loan to the end of the season.
Hewitt trained with Roughyeds for the first time last night and may be given his debut against Oxford at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off).
“I might throw him in at the deep end, but I haven’t decided yet,” said coach Scott Naylor.
Explaining the rationale behind the capture of a player who will be the second youngest member of the squad behind 18-year-old Tom Dempsey, Naylor added: “Half-back is the only department where we don’t have competition for places.
“You can go through the side and every position is covered, but we only had two half-backs and that made us vulnerable in those key roles.
“We’ve played Kenny Hughes there in the past, but we all know he’s a hooker. We’ve also tried Jack Holmes at half-back, but we feel he’s better suited to other positions.
“David Hewitt is a recognised half-back looking for first-team experience so we’ll see how he gets on. He’s a possibility for Sunday but I’m not sure yet. I’ll have to give it more thought.
“He’s come to work with us for a month initially, but if all goes according to plan we’ll then be able to sign him on long-term loan in which case we would hope to have a successful partnership with him going forward.
“First nights are never easy for a young player joining a new club. It’s like a boy going to a new school and settling in on the first day.
“But he met everybody, he trained and things will only get easier for him now he’s got the first night out of the way.”
Hewitt will be in competition with two of the most senior players at the club —- Lewis Palfrey (25), the captain, and Steve Roper (28), the squad’s senior citizen and most experienced player.
Selecting a back division to face Oxford won’t be easy because Tom Ashton, Steven Nield and Jon Ford are all out injured and Jarrod Ward has left the club.
On a more positive note, George Tyson and Gareth Owen, both badly missed in defeats by Keighley and North Wales, will be available again after completing two-match bans.
But Huddersfield Giants coach Paul Anderson is said to have horrific injury problems so there will be no dual-reg players from the partner club — just long-term loan man Nathan Mason.
Said Naylor: “We’ve got to get back to playing good rugby, doing the right things at the right time and working hard.”
Oxford boss Tim Rumford said: “Oldham is a tough challenge, but it’s a chance for us to benchmark ourselves and to see how much progress we’ve made.”
Oldham (from): Dempsey, Clay, Tyson, Holmes, Gee, Palfrey, Roper, Hewitt, Neal, M Ward, Hughes, Files, Owen, P Joy, R Joy, Crowley, Langtree, Thompson, Mason.
* Replica shirts (£45), tickets for ORSA’s sponsors’ lounge event at the York game on July 5 (£7.50) and signed copies of ‘From Watersheddings to Whitebank’ (London League Publications, £11.95) will all be on sale at Whitebank on Sunday.