Versatile Sam is the man for Oldham

Date published: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SAM Gee’s value to Oldham is based on his ability to play equally well in several positions, says head coach Scott Naylor.

It was Gee’s all-round talent and willingness to play anywhere on the field that appealed to Naylor when he first took him to Whitebank two seasons ago.

He’s still regarded by the boss as one of the club’s top MVPs —- ‘most valued players’  —- so it was a red-letter day for Naylor when his 27-year-old vice-captain agreed a new one-year deal despite interest from Championship club Whitehaven and others in the new League One.

“Whitehaven wanted me to go up there for a second spell at the Recreation Ground, but I preferred to stay at Oldham so I was made up when Scott (Naylor) rang me and things moved on from there,” said Gee.

Said Naylor: “He’s one of the most naturally gifted players at the club. That’s what makes him an all-rounder; that’s why he is such an asset.

“Loose-forward is his best position, in my opinion, but he can and will play anywhere in the best interests of the team. He’s at the top end of our most valued players, not least because he is so versatile.

“On top of that he’s a great lad to have around and he’s the life and soul of the dressing room.”

Of the players whose signings for 2015 have already been announced, Gee is the second oldest behind Steve Roper, who was 28 yesterday.

Having been brought up in the sport as a young player at Super League clubs Warrington and Wigan, he’s had what Naylor describes as ‘a good grounding’.

At various times last season he played for Oldham at hooker, loose-forward, centre and even full-back up at Gateshead when Steven Nield was 18th man and full-back Lewis Palfrey was hurt in the first few minutes.

Not for the first time, Sam was the man for Naylor when Roughyeds were in a spot of bother, and he did all that was asked of him.

“I just enjoy being anywhere on the pitch,” said Gee. “I had only ever played full-back during a brief spell I had in rugby union a few years ago, but by all accounts I did okay.

“I started last season at centre, and that was the first time I had played there since I was in my late teens at Warrington. I really enjoyed it.

“It was Wigan, who turned me into a hooker, but I like to think I can turn my hand to anything if and when required.

“Next season will be tough. Everybody is talking about the challenge of the five clubs who are coming down from the Championship, but York will be a force as well and I think Gateshead will cause a few shocks if they continue to recruit as they have been doing.”

* Mark Hobson, released by Roughyeds, and Andrew Joy, who played for Oldham’s under-20s last season, have signed for North Wales Crusaders. 

Andrew’s twin brother Richard and their elder brother Phil are both on contract at Oldham until the end of next season.

* To book for Neil Roden’s testimonial dinner at Whitebank on Saturday, November 22, ring Neil on 07919446600  or John McAndrew on (0161) 633 1791.

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