‘We want to forge links’– Spanner

Date published: Thursday, April 2, 2015
LEE Spencer, Oldham RL Club’s assistant coach, is inviting the local rugby league community to buy into what he and head coach Scott Naylor are striving to achieve at the town’s professional club.

Under the tutelage of the Naylor-Spencer double-act, Roughyeds finished second and third respectively in Championship One in 2013 and 2014, reaching the play-off final both years and missing out on promotion last year only because Hunslet Hawks snatched an extra time, golden-point winner in a heartbreaking Grand Final at Headingley.
The only third-tier team to boast an unbeaten home record last season, Naylor’s men haven’t been overturned at Whitebank since Rochdale pipped them 23-22 thanks to a late Paul Crook drop goal in a play-off clash in September, 2013.
Spencer has already made a plea to fans to get behind the young squad that will fly Oldham’s flag this season and which is through to the semi-final of the new iPro Sport Cup in which they will play North Wales Crusaders at Whitebank on Wednesday night, kick-off 7.30pm.
Now, he is urging the town’s amateur rugby league clubs and the young players of the district to take a look at the Roughyeds’ set-up.
Said ‘Spanner’: “Scott and I wish it to be known that we would love to be involved more with the local community clubs and the grass-roots game in the town.
“We’d like to forge links with the amateurs and develop a relationship and a mutual understanding of what we are all trying to build in this town on behalf of our great sport.
“My background is in youth rugby and over the years I’ve coached loads of Oldham lads on regional and national camps, not to mention all the Oldham youngsters who passed through the academy at Salford Red Devils when I was on the staff there.
“Super League clubs take on heaps of kids at a very young age, but only a very few make it to the top and I think its worth considering that there’s also a pathway to progress via clubs lower down the pecking order.
“Take Micky Learmonth. He captained England under-18s and he was at Leeds, Wigan and Bradford before joining Huddersfield. He’s now playing for us on loan or dual-reg and absolutely loving it.
“He’s not the only Huddersfield lad either who is more than happy to play for Oldham on a similar arrangement and I think that says a lot for the set-up we have here.
“A lot of people have a misconception about the partnership of clubs like ours with Huddersfield. We are not a feeder club and we always — and I stress that — have the final say on who plays in the Oldham team.
“Scott has already explained publicly that in nearly all cases players on dual-reg have to train with us at least twice in the week before the game.
“I think its a feather in our cap that Huddersfield have no qualms whatsoever about sending their up-and-coming players over here because they know we will look after them and help to develop them in the right way and in a professional environment.
“We will be happy to go along and talk to the amateur clubs and do the best we can to answer any queries from them, or from fans, on any subject relating to the playing side of the club. and our long-term objectives over the next three years.”