OLDHAM have pulled out of their dual-reg partnership with Salford Red Devils and have entered into a new one with Leigh Centurions.
The new link-up starts with immediate affect and will run to the end of the season.
Roughyeds, hit by injury, have confirmed that two Leigh players will be available to them for Sunday’s visit of West Wales Raiders to the Vestacare Stadium, kick-off 3pm.
Said head coach Scott Naylor: “Because of the injuries we’ve picked up over the last two or three weeks and the lack of players available to us from Salford it made sense to look elsewhere.
“We knew Leigh were available so we moved quickly to set up a partnership with them.
“They’re local, with a quality team and a big squad that has a nice blend of youth and experience.
“Also, their squad is run by two lads I know well, Kieran Purtill and Kieron Cunningham.
“It suits Leigh as well because their lads who are not getting a game can play for us. That’s what dual-reg is all abut. It’s supposed to benefit both parties.”
It’s been four or five games since Naylor last had the benefit of reinforcements from Salford, but he’ll have them immediately from Leigh.
Phil Joy, Kenny Hughes, Danny Langtree and Adam Neal are ruled out on Sunday and there are doubts about Danny Bridge and Matty Wilkinson, who are going through head-injury protocol.
Final decisions will be made tomorrow (Sat).
In the West Wales side, probably at full-back, will be former Roughyeds fan Phil Cowburn, who lived locally as a boy and watched Oldham home and away, often as a ball-boy at home games.
His father George, still a keen Roughyeds supporter, writes a regular column in Roughyed Review, the club’s match-day programme.
Said George: “Phil was brought up on Oldham Rugby, but as he got older his studies took him to Gloucester and now he’s settled down there.”
He played five years for Gloucester; the only player to top 100 games for the club and enjoying the distinction of playing in their first and last games.
He has since been playing rugby union for Lydney RU Club in the Forest of Dean, but when their winter season finished in the Spring he signed for West Wales.
“It’s always a special day for him when he comes back up here to play against Oldham,”
It will be a big day for the Cowburns too because Phil will have six family members shouting for him from the Vestacare stand , headed by his parents, George and April, who live at Thornham.
Though still without a win this season, Raiders have caused a few ripples with the appointment, from 2019, of former Melbourne Storm high performance manager Kim Williams as head coach.
Williams, who has coached Queensland Cup sides Mackay Cutters and Central Queensland Capras, has Welsh roots and is due to arrive in Llanelli soon after the end of this season.
Said club chairman Andrew Thorne:
“This is a statement for the game in Wales as a whole.
“He’ll be here full time on a two-year contract and it’s part of a five-year strategy we have to grow as a club.”