KIERAN Gill, Oldham RL Club’s new signing from Castleford Tigers, is keen to impress while playing on loan for the Roughyeds.
He celebrated his first try for the club in Sunday’s 26-18 win against Whitehaven with a clenched-fist salute to supporters and said afterwards he hoped to score a lot more tries while helping Oldham to climb out of relegation danger.
“I was a bit surprised to know I was playing after only two training runs with the squad, but everybody quickly made me feel at home,” said 20-year-old Gill, who is highly regarded at Castleford where he is half way through a full-time, two-year contract.
Before Sunday, he hadn’t played since he broke a hand eight weeks ago at Toulouse while on dual-reg duty with League One side Oxford, the Tigers’ partner club.
Of his Championship debut with Roughyeds, he said: “I was nervous before the game, but once it started I enjoyed every minute.
“I used to be at Salford in Pete Carey’s academy side and I also know ‘Gaz’ Owen and Adam Files from back then, so that helped me to settle in.
“I’ve also struck up a friendship with the two Yorkshire lads, Jamel Chisholm and Danny Grimshaw.
“The vocal support the team got from the fans was terrific and I’m looking forward to getting more game time and helping Oldham as much as I can while I’m here.”
A Castleford lad, he had connections with Tigers in his early teens, but he signed academy forms for Salford after impressing them while playing for Yorkshire under-17s (BARLA) in a triangular county tournament with Lancashire and Cumbria.
He was happy at Salford but when Castleford came calling with an opportunity for him to play in the under-19s at The Jungle, on his doorstep and for the club he supported as a boy, it was a chance he couldn’t turn down.
He is too old now for under-19s rugby, hence Castleford’s willingness to let him out on dual-reg or loan to gain valuable experience of senior rugby.
Whitehaven coach James Coyle, whose side was well beaten after taking an early 12-0 lead, has since described his players as “complacent”.
He added: “We thought we’d done enough to kill them off. We thought they would lie down because, going into the game, they were perhaps a little bit fragile after some poor results recently.
“If you give Oldham possession they’ll keep on going with you. They were better than us in every aspect of the game.
“They won because they were the better team.”
Next up for Scott Naylor’s men is a Friday night trip to Sheffield Eagles (8pm), who will be without former Oldham centre George Tyson.
He was charged with a dangerous throw in a match against Swinton and has been suspended for two games after submitting an early guilty plea.
Former Featherstone centre Nathan Chappell (26) made his debut in Sheffield’s surprise 35-10 win against the Rovers on Friday.
The Eagles have since signed Catalans Dragons duo Stan Robin and Thibaut Margalet on loan in a bid to arrest their recent slump and to move away from the relegation trap door.
Half-back Robin (25) and prop Margalet (23) may make their debuts on Friday.
Said coach Mark Aston, who was at the Oldham game on Sunday: “We are in a dogfight and players and staff are determined to pull things round.”