Tony’s new No. 2

Date published: Monday, October 11, 2010

HOOKER Martin Roden, a man of many parts, is Oldham RL coach Tony Benson’s new No 2.

The former Wigan and Leigh forward, gearing up for his third season with Oldham, will combine his role as assistant coach with those of  player and the squad’s fitness guru.

Roughyeds had no hesitation in appointing from within when looking for Paul Reilly’s successor as Benson’s right-hand man.

Reilly was effectively lost to the club midway through last season because of the demands of his full-time job as a driver and other commitments.

Roden (30) was already responsible for the squad’s fitness and stamina — and as Reilly faded from the picture he played an increasingly bigger part in coaching and general match-day preparation.

Now, his promotion to No 2 forms part of his new one-year contract and places his assistant’s job on an official footing.

“Martin is held in high regard not only by Tony and by us, but also by his fellow players,” said chairman Chris Hamilton.

Roden, who has a degree in sports science, works full time in the fitness industry, running his own gym in Hindley, near Wigan.

Said Benson: “He has loads of playing experience and he has already taken responsibility for many team matters, as have other senior players like Marcus St Hilaire and Neil Roden. I am always open to input from players like those.

“As part-timers we have limited preparation time, but we can make best use of it by combining game-related drills with fitness routines — just one area of expertise in which Martin specialises.”

Roden, who joined the club as conditioner for the start of the 2009 season, came out of retirement in July that year to play in a depleted side at Dewsbury. He was to play in each of the next 38 games — ten in 2009 and all 28 in cup and league in 2010.

“I hope to play again next year,” he said, “but I’m thrilled to become Tony’s No 2 because it might lead to other things for me in coaching in the future.

“My professional background is in fitness, but I’ve also worked as a player under some top coaches. I’ve got some coaching badges and I’ll be going for more to take my qualifications to the next level.”

Looking ahead to 2011, Roden said Roughyeds would be going all out for automatic promotion.

He added: “If we can keep most of the team together and top up a little bit we will be tougher, bigger and stronger. The club will hopefully be in a position to put one foot forward in its first full season in its own ground.

“Everything to do with Roughyeds is positive at the moment and I am eagerly looking forward to being part of it again in 2011.”