FORMER Oldham stars Wally Gibson and Marcus St Hilare, who will be guests of the club on Sunday and introduced to the crowd at half-time, will see a different Roughyeds’ line-up against Keighley Cougars (3pm kick off) to the one beaten 24-16 by Hunslet last time out.
In the days since a performance described by head coach Scott Naylor as “unacceptable” Oldham have strengthened with the addition of three new players on loan, Kieran Gill, Luke Hooley and Lee Kershaw, all of whom trained with the squad for the first time last night (Thursday).
Dual-reg players from Salford will also be available to Naylor, who is anxious to get a home win at the Vestacare Stadium after two league defeats already there by York City Knights and Hunslet.
He’ll be selecting from a squad of 25, not counting dual-reg, and changes will be on the agenda.
Said the Roughyeds’ boss:
“I have to make these decisions because we’ve lost our last two games. We can’t keep on doing the same thing if we are losing games so we’ll make some changes and see where it gets us.”
Fans from Watersheddings days will be delighted to welcome back Gibson, a brilliant Australian full-back, whose transfer from Huddersfield (in the days when they played at Fartown) hit the back page headlines of both the Oldham Evening Chronicle and the Huddersfield Examiner.
Wally went on to make 111 appearances for Oldham in the early-to-mid 1990s when he set the local rugby league scene alight with his brilliant attacking play from full-back.
He is currently on holiday in this area, visiting his former haunts in Oldham and Huddersfield and looking up old friends.
With him at the Vestacare on Sunday will be another former fans’ favourite in Marcus St Hilaire, who played 86 games for the ‘new’ Roughyeds between 2008 and 2011 after a hugely-impressive Super League career with Bradford, Huddersfield and Leeds.
Other former players may also be present, including winger Aidie Belle, who played in the same Oldham side as Gibson about 25 years ago.
Fast forward nearly quarter of a century and the trio of new loan signings, full-back Hooley (19) and winger Kershaw (18), from Wakefield Trinity, and centre or wing Gill (22) from Castleford Tigers, will be hoping to make their bow on the Vestacare Stadium’s state-of-the-art artificial pitch.
Gill and Hooley have played on loan with Roughyeds in previous seasons, but home games then were played at Bower Fold.
Seeking their third win in a row, Cougars are likely to play Welsh international Ben Morris, who made his debut last week in an 80-10 win against Hemel Stags after joining Keighley on loan from St Helens.
He played a few games for Roughyeds at centre last season, but he may well feature for Cougars in the second-row.
And making his debut could be former Super League veteran Darrell Griffin (36), a prop forward whose CV includes more than 300 ‘super’ games with Wakefield, Huddersfield, Leeds and Salford.
More recently, he was a top forward at Featherstone, but Cougars have this week signed him to the end of the season after his brief stint with Morley RU Club.