OLDHAM newcomer Tuoyo Egodo is relishing the prospect of mixing it with the big boys in his first season of Championship rugby.
The 19-year-old Londoner came north last November on a full-time two-year contract with Castleford Tigers, but he accepts that Daryl Powell’s decision to hand him over to Scott Naylor on a season-long loan deal is for his own good.
Like his fellow Cas prospect and Roughyeds loanee, Keiran Gill, he’s named, numbered and sponsored in the Betfred Super League club’s first-team squad.
Both played in pre-season friendlies and were in the senior squad that flew to Lanzarote for warm-weather training before linking up with Oldham and helping Naylor’s men to kick-off their Kingstone Press Championship campaign with a 26-10 win against Sheffield Eagles.
Gill (21) played a dozen games for Oldham last season, but it was Egodo’s debut for the club and his first taste of second-tier rugby, although he played nine games for League One side Hemel Stags last year while on loan from London Broncos.
From start to finish he had a running battle with Sheffield tough-guy Emmanuel Menzie Yere, the 33-year-old big-hitter from Papua New Guinea.
“It was a tough debut, but I really enjoyed it,” said Egodo. The Oldham boys are a great bunch and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season here.
“I hadn’t a clue what Sheffield would be like and, to be honest, I’ve never known a team as big and as physical as that.
“I didn’t know the lads all that well because I had only trained with them a couple of times and I was a bit surprised at how well we went head-to-head with opponents as big as that and came out on top.
“The boys did great and it was good to be part of a team like that.”
If picked to play at Featherstone on Sunday (3pm), Egodo and Gill can expect a rough ride from Rovers fans, whose rivalry with Castleford, their more illustrious neighbours, is legendary.