LIVEWIRE hooker Matty Wilkinson has signed his fifth contract at Oldham to extend his commitment to Roughyeds to November 30, 2021.
Now aged 24, the former Salford Red Devils dummy-half has signed a one-year deal, much to the delight of head coach Matt Diskin, who knows a thing or two about Wilky’s role from his own playing days with Leeds and Bradford, and his assistant Brendan Sheridan.
“Matty has loads of potential and this is a really good re-signing for us.
“One of our priorities for 2021 is to bolster-up and toughen-up the middles and that should benefit Matty a lot. He will have more in front of him next season and he should relish playing behind a heavier and a more robust middles unit.”
The game has changed significantly since the days when Diskin was one of the top hookers at the highest level, but the fundamentals of being the first man to get his hands on the ball after every tackle remain unchanged.
“On a personal note, Disco can show me lots of different things because my role used to be his role and there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the dummy-half job.
“As far as squad-building goes we have a lot more time for recruitment this year and I’m sure that by the time everyone is on board we’ll have a squad than can put in a real good dig.
“We struggled in our first few Championship games earlier this year, but it was always going to be tough in our first few games. It’s a big step-up to Championship rugby from League One.
“I’m sure we will be better equipped for it next time and we will have had a lot more time as well with Disco. That’s got to make a big difference.
“I can’t wait to get back into it. Apart from the lack of team training and games at the weekend, Lockdown for me hasn’t been all that different to normal. I work on the railways and we were regarded as key workers so it was business as usual. I haven’t had a day off since it all started.
“Like all the other lads though I’ve really missed rugby and getting together two or three times a week. That’s a part of our lives and most of us haven’t known anything different for years, apart from the off-season.
“It seems a lot nearer now we are starting signing players again and we certainly seem to be on our way to getting a good squad, first with ‘Langers’ signing again and then Nelmsey. How good was that? I’ve kept in contact with him and it’s great that he’s coming back.
“He’s had a few problems but he’s over them now and it will be good to get him back and to see him getting us on the front foot up the middle.
“He’s a good lad and a good player.”
Wilkinson, a Leigh lad, started with Centurions as a boy but moved to Salford when he was 17 and soon became a full-time pro. He had spells on dual-reg with Halifax and North Wales Crusaders before moving to Oldham at the end of June in 2017 on a contract to November 30 that year.
Roughyeds had to move smartly to get his signature ahead of Halifax, but he quickly settled at the club — as do most of our new boys — and he has now scored 21 tries in 60 games after making his debut in a 14-12 home win over Toulouse Olympique on July 2, 2017.
In his two League One seasons of 2018 and 2019 he scored 19 tries in 45 games, most of them when coming off the bench as hooker replacement for club captain Gareth Owen.
Another member of the existing squad who has signed a new one-year deal will be announced tomorrow evening.