SCOTT Leatherbarrow played 17 times last year for a London Broncos side that finished second to Leigh Centurions in the regular Championship season and then took Salford Red Devils to the wire for the right to play in the Million Pound Game.
A Wiganer, he later moved back north to become a Roughyed on a two-year deal — and on Sunday he faces the prospect of going head to head with his former team, shouldering heavy responsibility as our chief play-maker, main tactical kicker, vice-captain and goalkicker.
Roger Halstead caught up with him to see how he is settling in at Oldham and enjoying life back in Wigan.
RH: How’s life treating you back in the north ?
SL: All good. Loving it. Georgia and I are back in Wigan and ten weeks ago Georgia presented us with baby Autumn, who’s keeping us both busy. I’ve got my old job back, teaching PE at a primary school in Haydock, so things couldn’t be much better.
RH: And how are you finding it as an Oldham player ?
SL: Great. We’re a closely-knit bunch, training and coaching are good and we showed what we’re capable of when beating Sheffield Eagles in our last home game and then taking Featherstone down to the wire at The Big Fellas Stadium.
RH: Will it be a special occasion for you today ?
SL: I suppose it will in a way. It’s my first game against my former club, where I made a lot of friends. I’m looking forward to it. I hope we can perform well.
RH: Have you supplied Scott Naylor with any inside tips ?
SL: I’ve mentioned one or two bits but, of course, they might have changed things around this year. And it works both ways; they know all about me as well.
RH: Is there much of a difference between full-time and part-time ?
SL: Yes and no. The actual training is very similar, not much difference at all. But full-timers get a lot more time for recovery, rehab and things like that. There are other perks too. As part-timers we have to cram everything into three sessions a week.
RH: Finally, your thoughts on today’s game ?
SL: Broncos will be looking for another good season and getting up to Super League. We know it’s going to be tough, but if we play anything like we can we can compete with them and then see where we go from there. Regardless of the result, if we put in a good performance we’ll know we can compete with the top teams and that will stand us in good stead for the rest of the year.
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A product of Wigan St Pat’s, Leatherbarrow spent his formative years with Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves, followed by a season at Keighley Cougars, two at Batley Bulldogs and then this year as a full-time pro in the capital.
A goalkicker, he has played 102 senior games, scoring more than 500 points.
In his two seasons at Batley, he amassed 315 points in 54 games and caught the eye of London’s Aussie boss Andrew Henderson, who lured him to the bright lights down south on a full-time contract for the 2016 season.
When he left for pastures new, Henderson said: “Scotty leaves us with our very best wishes. In leading the side around the park, he will do a big job at Oldham.
“He’s at the stage of his career where he needs to be a starting half-back every week, shouldering the responsibility that goes with it, and I couldn’t guarantee him that because we have a few good half-backs here.
“Also, he wants to head home for family reasons so the move will be good for him and good for Oldham.
“He was a good player when he came from Batley — I saw a lot of potential in him — and he’s even better now, and a better person too, having worked in a full-time environment with myself and my staff and playing alongside other full-time players.”
Scott said at the time: “The capital was okay, but I’m a Wigan lad and there’s no place like home. We finally made up our mind when Georgia became pregnant. We wanted to be back with family.
“I was looking for a Championship club in Lancashire and when Oldham came in for me I knew right away it was the club for me.
“Chris (chairman Chris Hamilton) impressed me when telling me what the club was all about and I told him there and then to get on with it and get the signing done.
“It was all done and dusted in a couple of days.”