A pacy outside back from Featherstone who describes himself as a “proper Yorkshire lad” has become Oldham RL Club’s fourth new boy in the Roughyeds’ bid to regain Championship status at the first attempt.
Pontefract-born Kyran Johnson (23) has been with Rovers since he was 13 and he’s just bought a house only a stone’s throw from the Featherstone ground on Post Office Road.
His only other clubs, when he was a boy, were both in nearby Castleford — Lock Lane and Castleford Panthers.
“To sign for a club on the other side of the Pennines is a massive change for this proper Yorkshire lad, but after nine years at Rovers it was time for a change and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it,” said Johnson, who played in most of Featherstone’s Middle 8s games at the back end of last season.
His one-year deal at Oldham means he will be venturing into the unknown.
“I don’t know a single player over there, but I’ll have a full pre-season to bed-in. And to move outside my comfort zone and to get used to travelling over the M62 a few times each week will be part of the experience,” he added.
“I’m ready to have a crack at something new. I’ll be trying to better myself as a player; to gain experience in new surroundings; and to help Oldham to get straight back up to the Championship.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to do things I haven’t been able to do at Featherstone.
“It will be a completely new challenge for me, but I’ve played all my rugby near home since I started at Lock Lane as a seven year old and I’m really excited by this fresh start.”
Roughyeds have big hopes for Johnson, whom they describe as “exciting and pacy”.
He has scored 11 tries and kicked 23 goals in 33 senior appearances for Rovers, for whom he signed junior scholarship forms at the age of 13.
He continued to play for Panthers until he was 16 when he signed the forms that made him a fully-fledged Rovers player.
He made nine senior appearances in his debut season of 2015, another 15 in 2016 and nine more last season, plus eight for Hunslet while out on loan.
Said head coach Scott Naylor: “Kyran has been part of a squad that’s been in the top three or four of the Championship for the last few seasons.
“He’s proved he can play at that level and for years he’s been in a good environment at Rovers.
“In my opinion, he wasn’t given enough senior games and we saw an opportunity to sign a quality lad who is hungry to succeed at Oldham and who wants to prove to himself and to others that he is good enough.
“We are delighted to sign him and to give him a platform to play on a regular basis.
“He’s a quality lad who is multi-skilled and he has everything he needs to become a top-class player.
“It’s an exciting signing for our club and both Pete (assistant coach Peter Carey) and I are looking forward to working with him.”
Roughyeds, who hope to announce another back-division signing next week, are on countdown to the club’s 20th Anniversary gala dinner at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday, November 3.
Local boxing hero Anthony ‘Million Dolla’ Crolla, from Chadderton, will be after-dinner speaker and celebrity guest.
The £45-a-head ticket will include three-course dinner, live entertainment and opportunities to meet the Roughyeds players and to have pictures taken with the former WBA lightweight champion, who is in line for another crack at the world crown.
To support your club by buying a ticket, or to seek more information, ring the office on 07904-898177.