Tony Benson positive for next fight

Date published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OLDHAM RL boss Tony Benson has lauded Roughyeds new boy Luke Stenchion as a “pound-for-pound battler” who plays well above his weight.

The 25-year-old former Batley and Dewsbury prop is lined up to make his debut against London Skolars at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off)..

“He isn’t the biggest prop in rugby league,” said Benson, “but pound for pound he’s as strong as anybody and he’ll always give you 100 per cent.

“I’m thrilled to have got him because he’s just the sort of forward we need. That’s why we’ve been tracking him for months, right back to last autumn when we were in pre-season.

“He’s very experienced and the fact that he has played all his rugby up to now in a division higher than ours tells its own story. He defends well, he’s good with the ball in hand and he is a very consistent performer.

“He will be a great addition to our squad.”

Benson won’t finalise his team until the end of the week but there is every chance that several players who have been missing through injury in recent weeks will be back in the frame.

They include club skipper and stand-off Neil Roden, centre and joint vice-captain Marcus St Hilaire, prop Luke Sutton and young utility back Matthew Fogarty.

Added Benson: “Stenchion’s signing is evidence of the hard work we are putting in on player recruitment. We hope to make another signing soon, but it’s vital that we operate within a strict budget as we work our way back to a positive financial situation.

“Despite these financial restrictions we have put together a very good squad, but one win in four league games is not good enough and we need to turn things round rapidly. A start like that was not expected, and it has hit us hard.

“Every team has injuries, but most would have been challenged if, like us, they had lost the services of eight experienced men in key positions for three tough games against top teams in the division.

“We’ve been working hard to get the injured players back on the field and we’ve also done a lot of self-analysis, while striving in training to create match situations without running the risk of further injuries.

“I already had several players in the squad from last year’s reserves side, like Mick Diveney, Alistair Williams and Scott Mansfield, and now we’ve unearthed a gem from the reserves in winger Shaun Robinson.

“Others are showing huge potential and will no doubt figure in the future.”

Roughyeds plan to run a supporters’ bus to the Carnegie Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Super League club Hull FC at the KC Stadium on Saturday, May 7 (1pm kick off).

It will leave Mecca Bingo car park at 10.15am and cost per person is £15. Bookings can be made on 0161 628 3677 but payment must be made by 5pm on Thursday, April 28.