'Wardie' signs new deal


MICHAEL Ward, who’s been at Oldham RLFC since he was 16, is looking forward to playing for his hometown club again next year . . . in the KP Championship.

The 25-year-old prop-forward has followed Phil Joy and Jack Spencer in signing a new deal covering 2017.

Said Ward: “I’m confident we’ll stay up. The Shield wins against Workington and Swinton have put us in a strong position. The feeling in the dressing room is that we can pick up more points too in the five games we have left.”

A two-match RFL suspension kept him out of those Shield games and ruined his 26-match ‘ever present’ record this year, but he hopes to be back in the 17 at Bradford Bulls on Sunday.

Asked to name the biggest single factor in his decision to put pen to paper on a new deal, Ward replied: “I’m happy. I’m with a great bunch of lads and we’ve got a good coaching staff.

“I like to think I’m playing well, so why would I want to move ?

“I’ve been at the club a long time and I like it here. I’ve never played anywhere else and it would be nice to be able to say that again when the time comes for me to call it a day.”

Coach Scott Naylor pulled off a master-stroke when he converted Ward from a back-row man to an impact prop coming off the bench.

Said the Roughyeds boss: “This division is a tough arena. He grew accustomed in League One last year to the job I wanted him to do and this season he has gradually gone better and better at a higher level to anything he was used to previously.

“He has adapted well. He is now a top Championship prop and that’s the result of a lot of hard work on his part and a lot of desire to be the best he can be.”

Bottom-club Whitehaven, who come to Bower Fold on September 11, have sacked coach James Coyleonly four days before their crunch relegation battle with neighbours Workington Town. Coyle’s assistant Gary Broadbent has also left the club.

Oldham’s next home game is against Sheffield Eagles on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29 (3pm) when ORSA will host match-day hospitality.

Cost including main-stand seat, quality pre-game buffet, half-time refreshments and pre and post-game interviews and player presentations, is £25 (season-ticket holders £10). To book ring Paul Hulbert on 07534329674.

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