Tyson, Burke claim 'King of the ring' titles

THEY would never claim to be candidates for Channel 5’s ‘World’s Strongest Man’, but George Tyson and Joe Burke at least won bragging rights and titles when flexing their muscles at Oldham RL Club’s strength–and–conditioning session in Walkden.

Scott Naylor took his squad to the ‘Gorilla Warfare’ gym near Manchester yesterday in a break from routine with which to bid farewell to 2016.

By the time the players are together again next Tuesday, all Roughyeds eyes will be focused on 2017 and on the ‘new’ club’s 20th season since the formation of Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd.

Going into it with “king of the ring” titles are centre Tyson and prop Burke, who respectively won separate elimination wrestling tournaments for backs and forwards, both emerging unbeaten and unbowed after several bouts against their team mates.

“George and Joe were kings of the ring, but everyone trained really hard in a great session,” said Naylor. “It was exactly what we wanted this week when the boys are not at work in their full-time jobs and we can do something different during the day, instead of at night.

“We went to ‘Gorilla Warfare’ this time last year and had a superb time so we thought we would do it again this year. Once again, we were not disappointed.

“We had the lads boxing, wrestling and doing lots of other strength-and-conditioning work and they really enjoyed a new environment.

“They’ve also been given work to do at home while they’e having a little break over the festive season. They’re good lads and we trust them. They’ve all got families and they need a little bit of time off.”

He said Danny Grimshaw, who had a groin operation three weeks ago, got through most of what everyone else did so there was a chance he could be available for the pre-season friendly at Barrow on January 15.

Similarly, Nathan Chappell (knee) was looking better ever week and he might also be ready to play by the middle of next month.

Added Naylor: “The friendlies will soon be on us and we’re all chomping at the bit to get cracking.”

Roughyeds open up with Swinton Lions at Heywood Road, Sale on Sunday, January 8 (3pm), followed by Barrow Raiders away on Sunday, January 15 (2pm) and Rochdale Hornets at Bower Fold for the Law Cup on Sunday, January 22 (3pm).

Under a local paper story headlined: ‘Hornets target top-half finish’, Rochdale coach Alan Kilshaw said: “We want to avoid the bottom half (of the Championship) and if we can keep pushing I think this group has the potential to do that.

“We want to finish as high as we can and make sure that week in and week out we can improve.”

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