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Hooker Gregory Signs on Season Long Deal

Dec Gregory
Dec Gregory

WE are delighted to announce the signing of Declan Gregory (24), a hooker with plenty of League 1 and Championship experience, who has been training with us for a while, following his departure from Castleford Tigers.

Born and bred in Wigan, he has signed a season-long contract to November 30, 2021, effectively filling the immediate place in the squad left by the loss of broken-leg victim Matty Wilkinson.

Club officials and head coach Matt Diskin, who should know a good hooker when he sees one, have been impressed with Gregory during his time at the club.

And they insist it was the plan all along to sign him, irrespective of Wilkinson’s cruel luck in breaking his left leg when falling to an innocuous challenge in full-contact training.

Said Diskin:

“We needed three hookers and now we’ve got them — all quality. We’ll be without Wilky for a while and that’s a shame, so Declan will probably get his chance a bit sooner than we had envisaged.

“We were going to sign him anyway because he’s a confident lad who backed himself when he joined us for training and he has done really, really well.

“He’s an experienced hooker who has brought something different to the No 9 spot and, albeit Wilky will be out for a while, I’m still feeling pretty comfortable with what we’ve got at hooker and in our ‘middles’ (props).

“In some ways, Wilky’s bad luck spotlighted exactly why we needed three hookers. Declan knows what he’s doing and we are confident he will take his opportunity.

“We have real depth and quality among the 9s (hookers) and the ‘middles’ (props) and Declan will fit comfortably into that group — no doubt at all.”

Chairman Chris Hamilton added:

“He’s been with us for a couple of months. He settled in well and, even before he signed, he had become an integral part of the group.”

Growing up in the rugby league hot-bed that’s Wigan, he played for St Pat’s, Orrell St James and Hindley before going back to St Pat’s for under-18s rugby, ahead of a move to Leigh Centurions reserves.

Salford Red Devils Academy came next, then Hemel Hempstead, then back to St Pat’s for open-age rugby before he signed for Rochdale Hornets.

In his season and a half at the Crown Oil Arena across 2018 and the early part of 2019 , he totalled 24 senior appearances, 18 of them in the Championship.

In the second half of 2019, he transferred to North Wales Crusaders, where he played in ten League 1 games, including the Welsh team’s 46-30 defeat at Oldham as the Roughyeds powered their way to promotion.

His all-action performances for Crusaders caught the eye of Castleford Tigers. He trained full time with Tigers last year, Covid permitting, but his senior appearances were restricted to two pre-season games against Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings.

Now employed full time in the construction industry, he believes he can build a future in the part-time pro game and he’s grateful to Oldham for giving him the chance.

“I feel sure things will work out for me at Oldham,” he said. “I just feel right there !”.

Away from rugby and his full-time job, this Gregory has TWO girls — partner Nicole and their baby daughter Poppy, who was two last Saturday.

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