PROP Adam Neal may have retired as a player, but he will still have a key role to play with the Roughyeds in 2019.
The former Salford front-rower, a personal trainer in his full-time professional life outside rugby league, doubled up at Oldham last season as both player and strength and conditioning coach.
He has since signed a new one-year agreement covering strength and conditioning only.
In 2017 he suffered a fractured jaw and then in 2018 he was badly concussed — an injury that sidelined him for nearly three months.
“On top of things like that I’m exceptionally busy at work and it just seems the right time to call it a day.
“I would like to thank all the backroom staff at the club for looking after me brilliantly when I was suffering from concussion.
“I missed about a dozen games all told and for four weeks during that time I had bad headaches and impaired vision.
“I could train to a certain degree, but I could only run in straight lines.
“I’m well over it now, as proven in the last game at Bradford when I took another blow to the head but without any adverse reaction.
“Nevertheless, it’s the right time to put my Oldham shirt on the peg and to concentrate on the strength and conditioning job.
“I’m looking forward to it massively.
“When I joined Oldham at the start of the 2015 promotion season I had taken a year out after leaving Salford and losing a bit of interest in the game.
“I soon got my appetite back with the Roughyeds. The people were great and it was just a good place to be.
“I know the other lads say the same sort of thing, but that’s because it’s true.
“I would have missed all that had I finished completely, but in my new role I’ll still be heavily involved at the club and with a lot of responsibility.
“A lot of the lads are good, personal friends and I really enjoy working with them and seeing them do well.”
Adam was a key member of the promotion pack, playing in 24 games in 2015.
The following year he went full-time at Sheffield Eagles, but he was back in 2017 with another 24 appearances.
Injury restricted him to 15 games last season, giving him a total of six tries in 63 Roughyeds appearances, most of them in League 1.
Said head coach Scott Naylor:
“Adam’s life outside rugby has become extremely busy and we totally understand and appreciate why he is retiring as a player.
“He’s been playing for a long time and he’s had a lot of experience at the top level.
“A bad concussion last season forced him to have a lot of time off and he’s now decided he wants to concentrate on his full-time work while still playing a key role at the club.
“That’s hugely important to us because he did a great job last season. I’m delighted he’s staying with us.He’ll certainly have the lads fit and ready to go.”