OLDHAM have completed a third signing from NCL premier division side Siddal with the capture on a one-year deal of 22-year-old utility back Joe Martin.
His decision to sign a Roughyeds contract for 2018 follows similar moves by his ex-Siddal team mates Zack McComb and Ben West, with whom Martin played in that memorable 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup third-round tie against Toronto Wolfpack.
Toronto won 14-6, but the plaudits went to the Halifax-based amateurs, for whom McComb and Martin played in the centres with West on the wing.
All three have been training with Roughyeds since the start of pre-season last November and it was always in the hope that they would be offered deals.
Said head coach Scott Naylor:
“Joe was the last of three Siddal lads to sign and we’re delighted he has. He can play in a few positions and he has a good understanding of everything we are trying to do. His skill levels are good too.
“He’s now got an opportunity to earn some game time and the rest is down to him.”
His preferred position is full-back, but he can also play centre or in the halves if the need arises.
Martin played at Siddal until he was 17 when he signed for home-town Halifax, making his senior debut at full-back in the last game of the 2014 season against Dewsbury Rams at The Shay.
He also played two games for Newcastle Thunder on loan that season, one of them against Roughyeds at Gateshead’s International Stadium.
In the following year, he went out on loan to Gloucester All Golds, playing nine games, including a memorable one against Roughyeds at Whitebank where he played full-back and scored a 14th-minute try as the All Golds frightened the champions elect to death before going down 33-30.
On returning to The Shay he played in his biggest game so far when Halifax named him at full-back for the visit of Salford Red Devils in the late-season Super 8s. Salford won 50-28.
Things didn’t progress as he had hoped, however, and by 2017 he was back where it all began at Siddall.
Then came the opportunity to train and trial at Oldham with McComb and West and he was delighted to join them and push for a new beginning in the pro game.
“Coming from an amateur background we were a bit different to most of the other lads at Oldham and it would have been easy to dismiss us. In fact, just the opposite was the case. From the day we arrived we were looked after and made to feel welcome and it was that, more than anything else, that convinced me that I wanted to sign if given that chance.
“I’m really enjoying life at Oldham and I’m hoping to get some game time pretty soon.
“When the time comes it will then be up to me to grab the opportunity with both hands and stake a claim to make a first-team spot my own.”