TACKLING-MACHINE Liam Bent, Oldham’s ‘Young Pup’ (his words), has turned down opportunities in the Championship by signing a new one-year deal to stay at the Vestacare Stadium.
Like colleagues who have also committed to Roughyeds for 2019, 21-year-old Bent had other offers but was steadfast in his loyalty to Oldham.
“I know he’s had approaches from other clubs, including at least one from the Championship,” said head coach Scott Naylor.
Rochdale Hornets and Swinton Lions are believed to have moved for second-row man Bent, who was the youngest player on the Roughyeds roster last season.
Six months younger than Adam Jones and 16 months the junior of Matty Wilkinson, Bent celebrated his 21st birthday only a fortnight ago.
Another distinction was to be found in his tackling stats which set him apart as top tackler in most games and therefore across the season as a whole.
“He’s a tough kid who works and works and works in every game until he has nothing left.
“I would say, without hesitation, that in all my years in the game I’ve never come across anybody with an attitude to match Benty’s.
“He gives you every ounce of energy in his body and for a coach to know he has a player like that is very comforting indeed.
“From a work ethic angle alone you could do with 17 like Benty, but you are never going to get that.
“He’s an important member of the squad and we are delighted he has decided to stick with us.”
A product of Wigan St Jude’s, Bent played 17 games for Roughyeds in 2017 while on loan from Salford Red Devils and then signed an Oldham contract covering 2018 when he played 25 games and scored three tries.
He had four years at Salford after joining them as a 15-year-old and later enjoying two years as a full-time member of the senior squad.
“My heart has always been at Oldham since I first went there.
“They’ve looked after me fantastically well. I was never going anywhere. I’m happy where I am at a good club. I like the coaches and the fans and I felt I had to repay them.
“The only way I could do that was to sign a new deal and then make sure I give everything I’ve got to give next season.
“I’m proud to have a reputation as a tackler because defence can win matches, just as good attack can. I’m a big believer in strong defence.
“When we lost heavily at Bradford in the play-off I was absolutely gutted. It was an emotional game for us as well because we knew some of the lads were moving on.
“I didn’t speak for about an hour after the game was over. I just kept going over the game in my mind and asking myself: ‘What went wrong ?’
“We must make sure we don’t suffer a defeat like that again next season.
“More of the boys will be re-signing and there will be new faces too so hopefully we can have a big year.”
Roughyeds have now announced five signings — Dave Hewitt, Luke Nelmes, Danny Grimshaw, Jack Spencer and Liam Bent.