Our next player focus is on second-row forward Emmerson Whittel.
He got the rugby bug at the age of seven. His dad was a Leeds Rhinos fan and Emmerson supported Bradford Bulls — and when the derby games came around there was a lot of competitive banter between father and son.
“My interest in rugby league was growing all the time and one day I asked my dad to take me training at our local amateur team. That’s how it all began.”
The boy Whittel made rapid progress at Kings Cross Park in Halifax and by the time he was 13 he had been spotted by Bradford scouts, who were keen to take him to Odsal, writes JENNY McGRANE.
It was a dream come true for the young Bulls supporter, who spent several years at Odsal where he would scoop up an under-19s player-of-the-year award and make his Super League debut in a meeting with London Broncos in September, 2014.
A move to nearby Keighley Cougars followed, but he was unlucky there with injury, especially when suffering a broken jaw in a cup tie.
Injuries, plus the financial problems at Cougar Park, led to a situation in which he was again looking for a move.
Ritchie Hawkyard and Scott Law, with whom he had played at Keighley, had already joined Oldham and that was certainly a factor in his decision to move here when Roughyeds showed an interest. The club’s reputation as one which looked after its players and was always there or thereabouts in chasing honours at its own level were also taken into consideration.
“Emmy”, who likes a good holiday, names Leon Pryce as his rugby hero and, nearer to home, he has a lot of time for his team mate Zack McComb. Of Zack, he said:
“He’s got a fantastic hairline. I wish mine was like his.”
Describing himself as ‘very positive’, he said he would want Danny Langtree with him on a desert island.
“He’s well known around Oldham . The fans would come to save him and hopefully rescue me at the same time.”
Emmerson’s thoughts on the season so far?
“It’s been up and down, but we are still well in the running for promotion and i think the team is more than capable of going up.
“I think we’ll be promoted, if not automatically by finishing top then by going through the longer route via the play-offs.”