‘Smiler’ Sam here to stay

Date published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

VICE-CAPTAIN Sam Gee is the third Oldham RL player to re-sign for next season.

One of the more senior members of a young squad, the 26-year-old hooker has penned a new one-year deal to follow the lead set by Phil Joy and Danny Langtree.

“He’s had an outstanding season for us,” said coach Scott Naylor.

“Sam loves his rugby league, but in the couple of years or so before he came to Whitebank things hadn’t worked out for him at the clubs he was at and he had lost some of his enthusiasm.

“Everyone was talking about him when he was a kid at Wigan, and I knew that if we could put the smile back on his face we would get the best out of him.

“I’ve known him for a long time. When he’s at his best he plays with a smile, and he’s been smiling all season whether we’ve played him at hooker or at loose-forward.

“He’s the type of lad you want around the club and I’m delighted he’ll be with us again next year.”

Wigan-born Gee, a grandson of legendary Wigan and Great Britain prop Ken Gee, confirmed there was never any doubt about his re-signing “so long as negotiations over the deal were right.”

He said he was happier at Oldham than he had been for a long time.

“We’ve had a great season,” he added. “And now we’ve got the play-offs to look forward to. We’ve not had a competitive game for nearly a month, but we’ve done all we can to keep ourselves on the ball both mentally and physically.

“I’d like to say I’m confident about Sunday’s derby clash at Whitebank, but that might be seen to be disrespectful to a very good Rochdale side.

“The fact is it will be one tough game, and that’s how we’re preparing for it. Both teams will be on their mettle

“We made hard work of it in our last league game at Spotland (Oldham won 30-25) and to be very honest I thought we were a little bit fortunate to come away with three points.

“Our mental toughness in the last quarter, when Rochdale came back at us and got within striking distance, saw us through and I believe it will be a very important factor again on Sunday.

“We work hard in training on bonding as a team and standing up collectively when things are going against us and it’s part of our game that has worked well for us all season.

“Last weekend we had a ‘killer’ session of hill running out near Whitefield. It was tough and it was designed to test our mental capacity as much as our physical strength.

“Every one of us came through with flying colours. We bonded brilliantly —- just what was needed ahead of a demanding play-off against derby rivals.”