OLDHAM Rugby League Club can confirm they have signed Sheffield Eagles pair Dave Hewitt and Jack Blagbrough on loan to the end of the season.
Both players will train with Scott Naylor’s squad for the first time tonight and will be in contention for Sunday’s crucial home game against Swinton Lions at Bower Fold (3pm kick-off).
Half-back Hewitt (20) had a spell with Roughyeds on loan from St Helens last season, but later signed a full-time contract with the Eagles.
Blagbrough (22), a prop, played his early rugby with Huddersfield Giants academy. He is in his third season at Sheffield and played the second half of last season on loan at York City Knights.
Said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton: “We know all about Dave who made an impact when he joined us last year from Saints.
“He took the opportunity to go full-time at Sheffield and no one can blame him for that. He hasn’t been getting as much game time as he would have liked and he jumped at the chance to come back to us.
“Jack’s full-time training has had to be done around university commitments and he’s really keen to make a fresh start and to be pushing for regular football.
“We welcome both of them into our squad and I would like to thank Sheffield and Mark Aston for helping to facilitate the moves.”
Aston, Sheffield’s director of rugby and head coach, said: “Both Dave and Jack are up-and-coming young players and they need game time to further develop. It’s a move that will help them both.
“We are level pegging with Oldham in the league (both clubs are on 12 points), but it’s a move that will benefit both clubs.
“We have a good relationship with Oldham and I’d like to thank Chris Hamilton for helping to finalise these deals.”
Blagbrough, who has recently finished at university in Leeds, said he was “really excited” at the prospect of starting afresh in new surroundings and working hard to get more game time.
He added: “It’s been an in-and-out season for me and I’m looking forward to joining Oldham and pushing for a place.
“I know a few of the lads already — Dave (Hewitt) obviously, but also ‘Gaz’ Owen and Will Hope from when they were on loan at Eagles and Jamel Chisholm from when we were together at York.
“I know Phil Joy well too because we were at university in Leeds together, although he was in his third year when I started.”
Hewitt said: “I haven’t played much at Sheffield in the second half of the season, but I really enjoyed my time at Oldham and I’m looking forward to getting over there and getting out on the field again.
“I love the full-time environment at Sheffield. I regard it as a privilige to be full time because there aren’t too many such opportunities in rugby league.
“I’ve learned a lot from Mark Aston, who has been a massive influence on me. I liked playing for him and for the team, but results started to slip off a bit and he has to do what’s best for the team.
“I fully understand what he’s doing in letting me out on loan. Mark is happy with it and I’m happy with it and we both see the benefits.”