OLDHAM RLFC is delighted to confirm the signing of Dewsbury Rams prop Martyn Reilly, who has opted to join Roughyeds despite having several other offers on the table.
Among them was a new offer from the Rams, but the 24-year-old former Halifax forward took the “desperately tough” decision to leave Dewsbury where he had been since 2018.
He has signed a one-year contract at Oldham and, in a Roughyeds’ Ram-raid, becomes the third Dewsbury player to join Matt Diskin’s side following his fellow front-row man Luke Nelmes and winger or full-back Tommy Brierley.
Reilly and Nelmes were the Dewsbury props when in-form Rams won 24-6 at Bower Fold in March to record their third win in a row in their best start to a Championship season for several years.
Said Oldham coach Diskin:
“We couldn’t handle Nelmsie (Luke Nelmes) and Martyn, who both rolled us over down the middle.
“This is another very good signing. For a 24-year-old, Martyn is a very experienced Championship forward. He’s good with ball in hand, but he’s also rough and tough as well and you need that in your ‘middles’.
“We perhaps missed a little bit of that when we started off in the Championship earlier this year because we were behind everyone else time-wise when doing our recruiting.
“Martyn will bring a lot to our middle unit and his is a signing I’m very excited about.”
A Leeds lad, Reilly started off as a youngster at one of his local amateur clubs, Drighlington, before moving on to Wakefield Trinity where he had a year in their under-19s.
Halifax came next and while he was continuing his development at The Shay, aged 20 and 21, he had several games for West Wales Raiders in 2016 and 2017.
Dewsbury spotted the young forward’s potential and, including this curtailed 2020 season, he was a Ram for three years, starting in 2018, after being signed initially by Neil Kelly.
Despite suffering a serious knee injury against Swinton which left him on the sidelines for about a year, he played nearly 30 Championship games for Dewsbury, including four out of five as the Rams made a sizzling start in February and March this year before the lockdown.
He did enough in the second half of the 2019 Championship campaign to earn a place in the Ireland train-on squad for last autumn’s qualifiers for next year’s World Cup and he hopes his performances at Oldham will enable him to make progress in that direction too.
“I’m well over the injury now, having played the second half of 2019, followed by a full pre-season for this year and then playing games at the start of this year.
“While I was injured, Dewsbury stood by me and the chairman, Mark Sawyer, looked after me and sort of pulled me in. He put an arm round my shoulder and said he liked how I played.
“He said the club would keep me on the books and help me through my recovery, which they did.
“Dewsbury wanted to re-sign me for 2021 and I also had a few other offers on the table, but I was most impressed with what Matt (Diskin) and Chris (Hamilton) had to say about the Oldham club and about their plans going forward.
“Also, Matt mapped out a specific role for me at Oldham and it suited me just fine and fell in line with my own thoughts about the game and how I play.
“Having said all that, there are a lot of very good people at Dewsbury. It’s a great club. I really enjoyed my time there. To leave was a desperately tough decision to make, but now I’ve made it I’m really looking forward to starting a new chapter at Oldham.
“I think we’ll go well next year.”
Roughyeds have now announced that 11 players are contracted for 2021 or beyond, including four newcomers in utility back Tommy Brierley from Dewsbury Rams and forwards Tyler Dupree from Leeds Rhinos, Luke Nelmes from Dewsbury and Martyn Reilly, also from the Rams.