Man on the mic . . . that’s our new head coach Matt Diskin, who fronted a meet-and-greet session with fans in the Vestacare Stadium social club ahead of the new Championship season.
He was joined on the stage by his new backroom staff and his new signings, while the other players joined supporters in the audience.
Flanked (above) by winger Harry Aaronson, Diskin introduced his assistant boss Brendan Sheridan, his strength and conditioning guru Tim Abeyie, a former international sprinter, and his head physio Chris Melling, himself a former Super League player with Wigan Warriors and Harlequins RL, now re-named London Broncos.
Also in the spotlight with the boss were new boys James Worthington, John Hutchings, Lewis Charnock, Jode Sheriffe, Daniel Igbinedion, Dan Abram and Matthew Fletcher as well as the trio who were with the club on loan last year but are now fully-fledged Oldham players, namely Declan Kay, Adam Brook and Harry Aaronson.
The new season starts next Sunday, February 2 when Widnes Vikings and their former Australian Test team boss Tim Sheens arrive at Bower Fold, Stalybridge to provide our opposition on day 1 of the new Championship season, kick-off 3pm.
Diskin told fans he was more than happy with his staff and his playing squad, while acknowledging, in response to the floor, that he was short on numbers.
He added: “We won’t be signing for the sake of making up numbers. It’s difficult at this time of year to get the right players at the right price but we hope to bring in two more soon.”
He said the 14-club Championship was, in his opinion, the most competitive of rugby league’s three professional or part-time professional league competitions and on any day any team could beat any other.
Roughyeds would be up against some full-time teams and many with massively bigger budgets and funding, but they could pull off some surprises and he was confident they would.
He felt his job was to keep Oldham in the Championship in 2020 and, longer term, to establish Roughyeds as a Championship side.
He confirmed, too, that Roughyeds would be out to play crowd-pleasing, entertaining rugby, utilising skills with ball in hand and getting the ball wide at every opportunity, adding: “We won’t survive in this division on five drives and a kick.”
It was a night with a hugely positive feel to it as fans and players came together in unison, but there was one downside when it was revealed that centre Cameron Leeming had broken a bone in his hand at work and would have it in plaster for six weeks.