Senior Leaders

Date published: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TONY Benson has named a panel of senior players to spearhead Oldham RL Club’s promotion challenge.

They will form the team’s brains trust — a leadership group of five headed by captain Neil Roden and also including his cousin Martin Roden, who doubles up as player and assistant coach.

The other team leaders have played more than 200 Super League games between them. They are:

Paul Noone, 126 games for Warrington Wolves in the elite competition.

Paul Smith, 69 appearances at the highest level for Huddersfield Giants.

John Clough, 17 outings for Salford City Reds.

Hooker Clough is youngest of the group at 27, while second-row forward Smith is the eldest at 34.

All five played in the impressive 24-14 win at Workington on the opening day of the Championship One season.

“They won’t always be all in the team together,” said Benson, “but together they will form the squad’s voice on and off the field.

“They will be the leadership group in the dressing room — senior men with authority on the field and special responsibilities off it.

“They will lead from the front during games, Noone on the right, Smith on the left, Clough and the Rodens up the middle.

“Off the field they will be expected to help and guide the younger boys.

“I encourage all my senior players to look after the younger, newer blokes but by specifically naming a leadership group it gives the whole thing a bit more recognition.

“We have lots of young lads coming through and in these difficult days economically that’s a path the club will continue to tread.

“We can’t afford to go out and buy. We have to invest in the Extended Scholarship scheme and an under-23s side in order to bring our own boys through.

“With so many youngsters around the place it’s important we have a leadership group of senior players and I am sure it will work well during a very important season.”

The first-team squad includes 14 players who are aged 23 or under —Jamie Dallimore, Danny Langtree, Dave Cookson, Shaun Robinson, Alex Thompson, Matthew Fogarty, Danny Whitmore, Liam Gilchrist, Chris Clarke, Michael Ward, Chris Murphy, Jack Reid, Tom Rigby and new-boy Matty Syron.

Fans using free transport from The Junction to go to Whitebank on Sunday for the Gateshead game (3pm kick off) must book in advance on 0161 633 2759. The bus will leave The Junction at 2pm.

The reserve team’s game at Keighley on Thursday kicks off at 7.45pm and doubles up with a Supporters’ Association quiz night at Whitebank (8pm).

The draw for the third round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup, which will include Oldham, will be made in Whitehaven this evening.