APART from Paul Crook (broken toe), Oldham RL Club expect to choose from a full-strength squad for Sunday’s pre-season clash with fellow League 1 promotion aspirants Newcastle Thunder at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm).
Several players picked up knocks at Swinton Lions and final decisions will be made later in the week, but the club’s medical staff have told coach Scott Naylor he has reason to be optimistic, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.
“I’ll know more on Thursday night,” said Naylor, who will be looking to give a home debut to new boy Adam Brook, a half-back who has arrived at the Vestacare on a season-long loan from Halifax.
He got half a game at Swinton, but most Roughyeds fans will get their first glimpse of the former Bradford Bulls academy and Keighley Cougars half-back against a strong Thunder side that has set out its stall to win promotion this year.
They have spent considerable money to sign top-quality men like Liam Finn from Wakefield Trinity, Misi Taulupapa and Keal Carlile from Featherstone and Jy-Mel Coleman from London Skolars.
Kieran Gill (22), a centre who needs no introduction to Roughyeds fans, having had two loan spells here, has gone to the north-east on long-term loan from Castleford Tigers.
Powerful winger Mo Agoro is another ex-Oldham man, while French international half-back Remi Marginet (29) is expected to be a key man in Thunder’s promotion bid.
All eyes though will be on Samoan international centre Taulupapa, who has played in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla Sharks and has accepted the captaincy of the ambitious Tyneside outfit.
Said coach Jason Payne: “We have a lot of natural leaders in the team and Misi will have some great characters backing him all the way.”
Oldham expect Thunder to pose a threat that will be every bit as tough as those presented by Championship sides Barrow Raiders, Rochdale Hornets and Swinton Lions.
“They look seriously strong . They’ve spent big and it will be interesting to see how we go.”
Oldham have slashed admission prices, charging £10 adults, £8 concessions and FREE for under-16s with a paying adult. The usual £2 transfer to seats will apply.